House GOP leaders blasted Speaker Nancy Pelosi after she called President Donald Trump to delay State of the Union address during the government shutdown, saying she should “keep her word” and ask “What is she afraid of hearing?”
In a letter to the president Wednesday, Jan. 16, Pelosi asked Trump to postpone his State of the Union speech, set for Jan. 29, citing concerns about whether the government can provide adequate security amid the shutdown.
She said that with both the Secret Service and the Homeland Security Department entangled in the shutdown, Trump should speak to Congress another time or he should deliver the address in writing.
However, Republican leadership dismissed Pelosi’s suggestion, casting her move as a ploy to deny Trump the stage.
GOP allies accused Pelosi of playing politics, with House of Representatives Minority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) tweeting that Democrats are “only interested in obstructing @realDonaldTrump, not governing.”
Republicans also suggested that Trump should come to the Capitol to deliver his annual update even if Pelosi decides to rescind the formal invitation.
“I think he should come here and give a speech like everybody else. I watched when Republicans had the majority in the House, never did we disinvite President Obama. Never did we put politics ahead of America. That is what she is doing,” House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters Wednesday.
“It shouldn’t be what else should happen—he should come here, he should give the speech and Speaker Pelosi should act like a speaker and have the president and keep her word,” he said.
Scalise echoed McCarthy’s sentiments, arguing Democrats’ push to delay the address “shows incredible insecurity on their part” in terms of border security and shutdown messaging.
“I’d encourage the president to still come and we’ll find a place for him to speak. But I think it’s important that the country hear what he has to say,” he said.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen also said both agencies “are fully prepared to support and secure the State of the Union,” denying anyone’s safety is compromised.
The Hill and AP contributed to this article.