Bluff called: I'll be there for the State of the Union on the 29th, says Trump to Pelosi in new letter

Pelosi can’t out-troll King Troll. Why would she even try?

This is the right move, as I said yesterday. I can only assume that she’s been preparing for the contingency that he’d call her bluff and insist on speaking anyway, since … what else would he do, really? That was the most dramatic option available to him and he’s drawn to drama like a moth to a flame.

But it’s strategically sound too. He’s the one insisting on decorum and political norms this time. Let Pelosi take ownership of norm-busting in the name of pettiness.

The last line is nifty. And he’s right to point out how bogus her excuse for asking him not to speak was. “Security” was nonsense manufactured to present what was obviously a partisan snub as some sort of logistical complication. She should have just owned it. “We don’t think it’s right to conduct business as usual at a moment when the president refuses to conduct business as usual by re-opening the government.” Instead she fibbed and Trump called her on it.

What now? She could formally dis-invite him on the grounds I just mentioned. Although if I were her, I think I’d prefer to have him deliver the SOTU as scheduled somewhere else rather than postponing it and holding it in the House. Her top priority should be wanting to be off-camera when he inevitably lays into her and Democrats. If the address is postponed he’ll still get to do that, just at a later date.

If Politico is correct, the formal disinvitation is in the works. Democrats will have to take full possession of this snub.

Why did she invite him on the 3rd if Congress hadn’t yet approved a joint resolution to invite him? As Trump notes in his own letter, the shutdown had already begun by then.

Patrick Ruffini thinks he should give the SOTU from a factory floor somewhere in the midwest. Interesting, but not all that relevant to the policy dispute driving this standoff. Trump has never focused much on the labor implications of illegal immigration; he’s more of a “they’re coming to kill you” kind of guy. Having said that, delivering the SOTU from an immigration-related location like the border would be too far over the top. I think what he’ll do is announce his intention to show up at the House chamber on the 29th, camera crews in tow, and dare Pelosi to lock the door. In which case she’ll cave by announcing that he can speak there if he wants but that Democrats will boycott the speech and all other ceremonial government functions until Trump does right by the people and re-opens government. I’m excited for the next episode of this fiasco!