4 places Donald Trump could deliver his State of the Union
Posted January 22, 2019 7:33 p.m. EST
CNN — President Donald Trump is still planning to deliver a "State of the Union" address one week from today -- although where he will be speaking from remains very much a mystery.
You'll remember that Speaker Nancy Pelosi effectively disinvited Trump from addressing a bicameral session of Congress on January 29, citing security concerns tied to the ongoing government shutdown -- now in its 32nd day.
"She invited us. We accepted," explained a senior White House aide to CNN's Kaitlan Collins on Tuesday. "She cited security concerns. DHS responded to those. And we are moving forward."
The thing about that is that Pelosi hasn't re-invited Trump or, really, said anything since she asked him to postpone his SOTU address -- or deliver a written version to Congress -- earlier this month.
If Pelosi refuses to blink, Trump will not be able to speak in the House. It's Pelosi's right as speaker to invite (or not invite) the President to address the chamber. As evidence, the House sergeant-at-arms turned down a request Monday from the White House for a walk-through in advance of the speech next Tuesday.
So if Trump can't speak to the House, where else could he deliver the "State of the Union?" Here are a few ideas:
1) The Senate: The upper chamber is controlled by Republicans so, theoretically, his party could smooth the way for Trump to deliver his SOTU there. And, as PBS' Lisa Desjardins helpfully notes, nine presidents have given speeches in the Senate -- although none of them were State of the Union addresses. The problem, of course, is that the Senate chamber isn't big enough to accommodate all 535 members of Congress -- not to mention Trump's Cabinet and all sorts of other dignitaries.
2) The border: Given that the shutdown fight revolves entirely around Trump's demand for $5 billion to pay for a border wall, Trump could highlight the necessity of a wall by speaking at the border. He's already been there once during this shutdown -- he traveled to McAllen, Texas earlier this month to meet with border officials, and could do so again.
3) A Trump/Democrat House district: There are 23 freshmen House Democrats who represents districts that Trump won in 2016. If any Democrats are going to panic about the political impact of this ongoing shutdown over the border wall, it's this group of almost two dozen. Trump could have his pick in Iowa, with both freshmen Democratic Reps. Abby Finkenauer and Cindy Axne holding seats he won three years ago.
4) The White House: There's any number of places within 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue where Trump could deliver his SOTU speech. While his Oval Office address earlier this month felt somewhat staid and flat, there are plenty of other options -- like, say, the East Room, where Trump held a press conference the day after the 2018 election.
The Point: It's possible Pelosi acquiesces and Trump gets to speak on the House floor in seven days' time. But I doubt it. I also doubt that Trump will simply let Pelosi dictate when and where he can address the country. That's not his style. At all.