President Donald Trump has said that he will not deliver the annual State of the Union speech until the government shutdown has ended. It comes after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi withdrew an invitation for him to address Congress, saying government services should fully reopen first.
Trump had said that the speech should be “on time, on schedule, and very importantly, on location”. However, he claims that Pelosi had “changed her mind” after withdrawing the invitation.
“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 perogative. 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 Satate of the Union address in the near future.”
Pelosi responded saying she hoped Mr Trump would back a bill passed by the House of Representatives to fund the agencies affected by the shutdown.
Trump wants $5.7bn (£4.4bn) to build a wall on the US-Mexico border, but newly empowered Democrats have refused. The row over border security has led to the longest government shutdown in US history, now in it’s 34th day.
800,000 people are currently without pay with numerous government bodies go underfunded.