Trump caves on Union speech
THE counter-puncher caved. President Donald Trump’s decision to postpone his State of the Union address under pressure from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi came as a surprise and left all of Washington trying to determine whether it signalled a new willingness by Mr Trump to make a deal to reopen the government.
“Well, it’s really her choice,” Mr Trump said yesterday, acknowledging Ms Pelosi had the upper hand when it came to scheduling the traditional presidential address to Congress.
The speaker had made clear Mr Trump could not deliver his speech from the House until the government reopens.
So Mr Trump, who is typically loathe to show any sign of weakness, made a highly uncharacteristic about-face.
The President concluded there was no viable alternative that could match the gravitas of the traditional State of the Union address, in which all three branches of government come together under one roof, drawing the president’s largest television audience of the year.
“I would have done it in a different location but I think that would be very disrespectful to the State of the Union,” Mr Trump said.
“I could have gone to a big auditorium and gotten 25,000 people in one day and you’ve been there many times. But I think that would be very disrespectful to the State of the Union.”
Mr Trump went so far as to praise Ms Pelosi’s move as “actually reasonable” – although he had blasted her position just a day earlier.
Throughout his presidency, Mr Trump has revelled in his take-no-prisoners negotiating style – from talking tough against North Korea to slapping tariffs on allies.
“Nobody’s ever seen him make such a concession in public,” said former campaign aide Sam Nunberg.
Mr Trump’s backdown came as a splintered Senate swatted down competing Democratic and Republican plans for ending the 34-day partial government shutdown.
But the twin setbacks prompted a burst of bipartisan talks. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell quickly called Minority Leader, Democrat Chuck Schumer, to his office to explore potential next steps.
Senators from both sides floated a plan to reopen agencies for three weeks and pay hundreds of thousands of federal workers while bargainers hunt for a deal.
I WOULD HAVE DONE IT IN A DIFFERENT LOCATION BUT I THINK THAT WOULD BE VERY DISRESPECTFUL US PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP