by Steve Herman
U.S. President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he would make an alternative speech after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told him there would be no State of the Union address in Congress next week—an action that he termed “a disgrace.”
“She doesn’t want to hear the truth,” Trump told reporters. “She doesn’t want the American public to hear what’s going on.”
The president said that Pelosi’s decision not to allow the address to Congress until the government shutdown ends is “a great blotch on the incredible country that we all love,” and her action would be remembered as “a very, very negative part of history.”
He then went on to declare that the Democrats have “become a very, very dangerous party for this country.”
Trump did not reveal where and when he would make his alternative address.
Pelosi sent a letter to Trump on Wednesday saying the Democratically controlled House “will not consider a concurrent resolution” authorizing him to give the speech in the House chamber until the entire federal government reopens.
She wrote that when she extended an invitation on Jan.3, she had “no thought that the government will still be shut down” on Jan.29, the mutually agreed upon date.
Trump plans a more formal response to Pelosi later, but in remarks in the White House, he called the rescinded invitation “sad.”
He had earlier sent Pelosi letter saying, “There are no security concerns regarding the State of the Union Address. 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 the Union.”
Earlier this month, Pelosi had invited Trump to deliver the speech on Jan. 29 but last week she urged him to postpone it or submit it to lawmakers. She expressed security concerns, noting the U.S. Secret Service and Department of Homeland Security are part of the one-quarter of the U.S. government remaining unfunded since late December.
“I look forward to seeing you on the evening on Jan. 29th in the Chamber of the House of Representatives. 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!” Trump said in his letter Wednesday.
White House officials had earlier said plans were also underway for the annual address to be made from a different location — including at a political rally — depending on whether the partial shutdown of the U.S. government persists.
The president is required to annually submit to Congress a report on the nation, but there is no requirement that it be an address before both the House and Senate.
Trump’s first State of the Union address a year ago lasted 80 minutes, making it one of the longest such speeches in U.S. history.
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Steve Herman is a contributor for VOA News.
Photo “Donald Trump” by CSPAN.