In a tweet on Wednesday evening, Donald Trump gave the State of the Union update the nation has been waiting for. He confirmed that the annual presidential speech won't happen until the government shutdown is over — and he made it clear this wasn't his first choice. In fact, he asserted that this postponement was Nancy Pelosi's "prerogative," writing, "I look forward to giving a 'great' State of the Union Address in the near future!"
Trump's two tweets read in full:
As the Shutdown was going on, Nancy Pelosi asked me to give the State of the Union Address. I agreed. She then changed her mind because of the Shutdown, suggesting a later date. This is her prerogative - I will do the Address when the Shutdown is over.
I am not looking for an alternative venue for the SOTU Address because there is no venue that can compete with the history, tradition and importance of the House Chamber. I look forward to giving a “great” State of the Union Address in the near future!
POTUS' decision comes several hours after Pelosi sent him a public letter confirming that she would not allow him to give the SOTU from the House floor until the shutdown had ended. Per CNN, Pelosi wrote, "The House of Representatives will not consider a concurrent resolution authorizing the President's State of the Union address in the House Chamber until the government has opened."
Trump's first response to Pelosi came earlier on Wednesday, when he said to reporters from the Cabinet Room, via RealClearPolitics, "The State of the Union speech has been canceled 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, and she's afraid of the truth."
Trump continued, "I think that's a great blotch on the incredible country that we all love. It's a great, great, horrible mark."
Though Trump has since confirmed that he will not be seeking alternative venues to give the SOTU, as was reported by The New York Times earlier in the day, that doesn't exactly clarify when the address will happen. As of Wednesday evening, the government has been in partial shutdown mode for 34 days, making it the longest shutdown in American history. What's more, there doesn't appear to be an end in immediate sight.
According to The New York Times, the Senate is set to hold competing votes on Thursday, both of which are aimed at ending the shutdown. One measure is for a Democratic bill that would fund the government through Feb. 8 and doesn't provide any funding for a border wall, and another measure is Trump's proposal which includes $5.7 billion in border wall funding.
The publication reports that it's unlikely either bill will receive the necessary majority vote within the Senate, given how polarized the border wall funding debate has become between Democrats and Republicans during the shutdown.
In the meantime, the approximately 800,000 federal workers who are being impacted by the shutdown have now missed two rounds of paychecks. Vox reports that many of those workers are now turning to the gig economy to supplement their income.
Earlier in the day, POTUS took to Twitter to reaffirm his belief in the importance of a border wall, at any cost. He tweeted in all caps, "BUILD A WALL & CRIME WILL FALL!"