Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Speaker Pelosi Says No: Options for President Trump on the State of the Union Address
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi had exercised her power to disinvite President Trump from delivering the State of the Union Address before a Joint Session of Congress in the House of Representatives after earlier inviting him. The United States Constitution sets up three co-equal branches of government: The Legislative, Presidency, and Judicial. Each is sovereign in its own right with certain inherent powers. The House of Representatives governs the House and the Senate the Senate. The Speaker of the House formally invites speakers before the House. For example, Speaker John Boehner invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to Congress on March 3, 2015. The Speaker extends the invitation to the President to present the State of the Union address to the people before a joint session of Congress. It’s usually a formality. Speaker Pelosi adhered to the letter of the law by extending the invitation to President Trump for January 29, but then effectively disinvited him until a budget agreement is reached to end the partial shutdown of government. That is either a brilliant political stratagem, of which the Speaker prides herself, or it is petty. President Trump has options, which will work to his advantage and not the Speaker’s. The Constitution requires a State of the Union report by the President to Congress. It does not require an oral presentation. Presidents only in the past century have delivered the address in the House of Representatives to the American people. President Trump can deliver the address virtually anywhere he wants, and forward a written copy to Congress whenever he wants. He can invite the audience of his choice to the presentation. He can deliver the address before the Senate with the House not invited. He can deliver it in the White House. He can deliver it on the Capitol Mall. He can deliver it by the Rio Grande on the Texas Border. He can deliver in an arena or stadium. He can deliver it in front of the wall surrounding Speaker Pelosi’s San Francisco house. My preference will be to deliver the State of the Union Address before the San Diego Border Wall in front of an audience of the victims and victim families of illegal immigrants: the widow of Officer Ronil Singh, a legal immigrant gunned down by an illegal immigrant, other relatives of slain officers and victims of MS-13, the victims of illegal drivers and drunken drivers. He could attach to the Address delivered to Congress a list of all the victims and crimes of illegal immigrants. The San Diego Wall has been incredibly effective in halting illegal immigration at the San Diego border, which was once flooded by illegal immigrants. He could continue with a impressive listing off all his Administration’s accomplishments over the past two years. He could show photos of the Democratic members of Congress cavorting on the beaches of Puerto Rico. He can demand that members of Congress not receive compensation during a government budget shutdown. President Trump’s presentation would trump Speake Pelosi’s shutdown of State of the Union Address and the banality of their argument that “Walls don’t work.” A side feature with this presentation would be the lack of a response by an opposition speaker, although Republicans would relish another rebuttal from Speaker Pelosi and Senator Schumer..