WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi invited President Donald Trump to deliver his State of the Union address, rescheduling the date of what became a political football during the record-long partial government shutdown in January.
In a letter on Monday, Pelosi formally invited Trump to deliver the annual address to a join session of Congress on February 5. The letter also noted that Pelosi spoke with Trump on Monday and that he agreed to the set date next month.
The State of the Union had initially been postponed by Pelosi. The original date was supposed to be January 29, but Pelosi informed Trump the two would have to renegotiate until the shutdown ended or he could instead submit it in writing.
Pelosi also declined the White House the opportunity to conduct a walkthrough of the House chamber in preparation for the event when Trump made clear he intended to deliver the address as planned.
In what was largely viewed as a retaliation to Pelosi, Trump canceled a bipartisan congressional delegation to Afghanistan. The episode sent Capitol Hill into chaos, setting off angry responses from across the political spectrum. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham even characterized Trump’s cancelation of the trip as a “sophomoric response.”
When Trump and congressional leaders reached a deal to reopen the government with a short-term continuing resolution on Friday, Pelosi reiterated that the January 29 date for the State of the Union was off the schedule and new date would need to be agreed upon.
Submitting the State of the Union in writing was customary until President Woodrow Wilson did so in 1913. Until then, the last president to deliver it in person was John Adams, the United States’ second commander-in-chief.