Wait, he’s not going to call her bluff by showing up to the House on the 29th?
What the hell am I even watching this show for?
For cripes sake. We all know she’s going to win the standoff over the wall. The least Trump can do is embarrass her by calling on Congress in person next week. It’s not like there’s any dignity left in American politics to be salvaged by having him quietly de-escalate.
President Donald Trump says he will do an “alternative” event since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has blocked him from giving his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress while the government remains partially shut down.
Trump at the White House Wednesday said the cancellation was a “disgrace.” He did not detail his next move, saying: “We will be announcing what we’re doing.”…
Trump said he was planning a “really important speech” and called Pelosi’s move a “great blotch on the country that we all love.” He argued Pelosi was blocking him because she doesn’t want to hear “the truth” about border security.
He also apparently said it was “sad” that the speech wouldn’t be happening before Congress, another sign that he’s resigned to moving the event somewhere else.
Maybe this was the plan all along, ever since she sent her letter to him a week ago discouraging him from showing up. He wasn’t really planning to call her bluff by showing next week, this morning’s letter notwithstanding. The plan, per Politico, was merely to inflict some pain on Pelosi by highlighting how petty she’s being. Mission accomplished:
Two White House officials said they believe they have the upper hand in the State of the Union standoff because Pelosi hasn’t been able to definitively show that the shutdown has prevented the government from securing the event. As the White House officials see it, Pelosi will either buckle and allow Trump to speak or be forced to publicly un-invite him. Trump wins in either scenario, the officials argued, insisting that barring him from giving the speech would be seen as obviously political and petty.
She tried to save face this afternoon, telling reporters that she disinvited him “because the government is closed.” But that’s a lie twice over. Her original excuse was that it’d be impossible to secure the event with so many federal workers furloughed, which was untrue. And it’s a lie insofar as she’s never once publicly uttered the true rationale for canceling the speech: Namely, the optics of having to sit silently behind him on camera for an hour in front of the country while he spun the shutdown standoff to his advantage were intolerable. She wanted to avoid that so she canceled him.
I assume the “alternate” venue will be the White House. Any of the other options floating around right now — a MAGA rally, an address at a red-state capitol — would implicitly highlight the fact that the only people supporting him on the standoff are the people who were supporting him all along. The White House is the one place he can go to commandeer the authority of government, handed to him in a national election, for his position. Meanwhile, two strange things about all this. One: As a Twitter pal noted this afternoon, Trump’s been surprisingly restrained throughout the shutdown process. No emergency declaration, no dramatic attempt to speak at the Capitol next week, a public offer of temporary amnesty for DACA recipients to try to break the stalemate. He’s been as disciplined as he can be. How long can that last?
Two: There’s an odd divide between Pelosi and her longtime number two, Steny Hoyer. Ed noted earlier how Hoyer said yesterday that there’s a place for physical barriers at the border, a sharp break with Pelosi’s claim that the wall would be “immoral.” He’s also been more comfortable with the idea of Trump delivering the SOTU to Congress as scheduled, though, saying “sure” earlier when asked if the House was willing to host Trump for the SOTU. Maybe Pelosi and Hoyer are doing a good-cop-bad-cop thing, trying to play all sides of this stuff to mitigate damage to Democrats. Or maybe Hoyer, who’ll be 80 in June, is tired after having spent 15 years playing second fiddle to her in leadership. He’ll go his own way on these things as much as he can. What does he have to lose?
President Trump: "The State of the Union speech has been cancelled by Nancy Pelosi because she doesn’t want to hear the truth. She doesn't want the American public to hear what's going on." #sotu pic.twitter.com/2wqHEZf4iW
— CSPAN (@cspan) January 23, 2019