Politics

Trump accepts Pelosi's invitation to give State of the Union address on Feb. 4

Key Points
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi invites President Donald Trump to deliver a State of the Union address on Feb. 4.
  • The invitation suggests that despite the bitter partisan divide over the impeachment process, Pelosi seeks to avoid repeating the prior year's political fight, when the annual address was used in a game of political tug-of-war amid a government shutdown.
  • Trump accepted Pelosi's invitation, a White House spokesman said later Friday.
The 'Pelosi Clap': U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, right, and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, left, applaud U.S. President Donald Trump during a State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019.
Doug Mills | Pool | Bloomberg | Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday invited President Donald Trump to deliver a State of the Union address on Feb. 4.

Trump accepted Pelosi's invitation, a White House spokesman said later Friday.

The invitation suggests that despite the bitter partisan divide over the impeachment process, Pelosi seeks to avoid repeating the prior year's political fight, when the annual address was used in a game of political tug-of-war amid a government shutdown.

"In the spirit of respecting our Constitution, I invite you to deliver your State of the Union address before a Joint Session of Congress on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 in the Chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives," Pelosi wrote in a letter to Trump.

Her spokesman, Drew Hammill, tweeted out a copy of the brief letter Friday afternoon.

Trump's last State of the Union address was delayed amid a partial government shutdown — the longest in U.S. history — which stemmed from an impasse between Congress and the White House over his demand for funding for a wall on the border with Mexico.

Pelosi threatened to block Trump's speech before Congress because "a State of the Union address has never been delivered during a government shutdown."

She suggested he either reschedule the address or simply submit it in writing — an option that no president in decades had exercised.

Pelosi and Trump eventually agreed to allow that address before a joint session of Congress on Feb. 5.

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Watch three politics experts critique President Trump's second State of the Union

Next year's address may be delivered without the backdrop of a government funding crisis, but congressional Democrats and Trump's White House are no less divided.

Less than two days before Pelosi sent her State of the Union invite, the Democratic-led House voted to impeach Trump on articles of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress related to his dealings with Ukraine. Pelosi herself gaveled in the votes.

Ahead of those votes Wednesday night, Trump sent a scathing six-page letter to Pelosi decrying the impeachment "crusade" as an "election-nullification scheme."

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