In case you haven’t been following the shutdown State of the Union fight between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Trump, here’s a quick rundown. Pelosi, citing security and the shutdown, rescinded the president’s invitation to issue the State of the Union address from the House floor, which she controls. Trump then pettily canceled the military escort for Pelosi’s trip to visit troops in Afghanistan, leaking the details of her trip and forcing her to cancel. Trump then indicated he was going to go ahead with the State of the Union address on the floor of the House, even though he can’t do so without permission from the House. Today, he escalated things even further.
Trump sent another very petty letter to Speaker Pelosi alerting her to his plan to embarrass himself by trying to force her to let him issue his State of the Union address from the House floor:
President Trump’s letter to Speaker Pelosi on the State of the Union pic.twitter.com/B4QN9hDJnv
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) January 23, 2019
In the letter, Trump tries to ignore Pelosi’s letter rescinding the invitation and accept her initial invitation. “Therefore, I will be honoring your invitation, and fulfilling my Constitutional duty, to deliver important information to the people and Congress of the United States of America regarding the State of our Union,” Trump writes. “It would be so very sad for our Country if the State of the Union were not delivered on time, on schedule, and very importantly, on location!”
Sigh. The House and Senate usually pass a joint resolution agreeing to convene for the State of the Union address on the floor of the House, which is large enough to accommodate members of both houses and guests. Because Democrats control the House of Representatives, they are under no obligation to hold a session allowing the president to give a speech there.
Speaker Pelosi controls the House, the Sergeant at Arms, the cameras—the whole shebang. This would be like her sending a letter to Trump indicating that she’s going to turn the White House rose garden into a swimming pool—it’s pure fantasy. Trump isn’t even “bluffing” per se because he isn’t holding any cards.
Naturally, Twitter decided to sound off on Trump’s latest stunt to show his base he’s really “fighting” and sticking it to those stubborn Democrats:
So @realDonaldTrump keeps framing the SOTU as an "address to the nation."
Technically, it's not. It's a speech delivered to a joint session of Congress, and it can't happen without both chambers passing a concurrent resolution. https://t.co/jmylWSsCoP
— Andrew Feinberg (@AndrewFeinberg) January 23, 2019
There's nothing in the Constitution that says the President of the United States must deliver a SOTU in the House Chamber. So…. https://t.co/EYRnAO080X
— Jonathan Capehart (@CapehartJ) January 23, 2019
It's hilarious that this jerknozzle doesn't understand that he's not in charge of the House of Representatives and this isn't his call. https://t.co/KU4Y2PgXWq
— Ian Millhiser (@imillhiser) January 23, 2019
Footage of the House of Representatives Sergeant at Arms slamming the door in the president's face would be a good illustration of separation of powers.
The president can't just invite himself into the House Chamber to make a speech. https://t.co/b177wNpC8U
— Matthew Feeney (@M_feeney) January 23, 2019
I rolled my eyes so many times reading this. https://t.co/uwRvO06hBj
— Morgan Polikoff (@mpolikoff) January 23, 2019
President acting like he's never rescinded an invitation. https://t.co/g4PokmkAQN
— John O'Connor (@johnroconnor) January 23, 2019
I doubt this is going to be made for tv. In all likelihood, she’s just not gonna be there at that time. There will be no resolution passed in the House for a joint session and the lights and cameras in the chamber will be off. https://t.co/uo1Hk8OA8r
— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) January 23, 2019
There were plenty of references to Trump’s history of (alleged!) sexual assaults:
I know it's a concept you don't respect, Mr. President, but no means no. https://t.co/8FYVSK8Fuq
— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) January 23, 2019
Trump: still not concerned about consent https://t.co/efiqsSWF5l
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 23, 2019
And some good old-fashioned jokes too:
REPUBLICANS: Obama is shredding the Constitution with his healthcare tyranny!
ALSO REPUBLICANS: President Trump can totally barge into the House of Representatives uninvited and seize the floor to deliver some propaganda
— Max Burns (@themaxburns) January 23, 2019
me turning up at my ex's wedding when i was invited by mistake https://t.co/lGzKV21LBN
— David Mack (@davidmackau) January 23, 2019
wow, Pelosi has already responded, guess she's president now pic.twitter.com/cHcUhsJaM4
— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) January 23, 2019
In other shutdown news, the latest poll of who’s doing a better job handling the shutdown has Pelosi up double digits on Trump:
This to my knowledge is the first (at least "high quality") poll that directly pitted Pelosi and Trump. Good for the Speaker and not so good for the President. pic.twitter.com/wIGCH07to0
— (((Harry Enten))) (@ForecasterEnten) January 23, 2019
Trump continues to embarrass himself by posturing like this and alienating all but his dwindling hardcore fan base. Meanwhile, furloughed workers are feeling the pain of his refusal to open the government, which is already the longest in U.S. history and shows no signs of coming to an end.