Trump caves on Union speech

The Weekend Post - - World -

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

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