Nancy Pelosi has officially postponed Donald Trump’s State of the Union address until the government is fully reopened.
Responding forcefully to a letter from the president earlier in the day in which he essentially dared her to disinvite him, the US House Speaker said in a letter to Trump that the House would not consider a measure authorising the speech for now.
“Again, I look forward to welcoming you to the House on a mutually agreeable date for this address when government has been opened,” Pelosi said to Trump in her letter.
She issued the warning as the partial government shutdown reached 33 days.
Trump said in his letter: “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!”
In response to the letter, Trump told reporters at a healthcare-related event at the White House that he would respond to Pelosi in a timely manner.
The State of the Union speech, an annual rite in American politics that is typically used by presidents to announce their policy goals for the coming year, has become a hostage to the standoff between Trump and congressional Democrats over his demands for funding for a US-Mexico border wall.
Pelosi, as House Speaker, is second in line to the presidency after vice-president Mike Pence.