President Donald Trump appears poised to disregard House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s request that he delay the State of the Union address until the government shutdown is resolved.
The president plans to go forward with his scheduled Jan. 29 speech at the Capitol, according to reports from NBC News, Fox News and NPR.
It’s unclear what will happen, though, if and when Trump shows up. The State of the Union is an annual message delivered by the president to a joint session of Congress.
As House speaker, Pelosi (D-Calif.) can dictate whether a resolution to convene a joint session comes up for a vote in the House. Without a joint session, the president wouldn’t be able to come onto the House floor to deliver his address.
The president can technically enter the House chamber at any time, but as McClatchy reporter Emma Dumain noted, there might not be anyone else there, let alone C-SPAN broadcasting or even lights.
Trump could technically face censure or removal from the chamber if he decided to enter House and begin his address without express permission from Pelosi, according to House rules. But as Pacific Standard outlined, there’s no precedent for a president doing so against the wishes of the House speaker.
Pelosi, who became House speaker this month after Democrats won control of the chamber, extended the traditional invitation to Trump on Jan. 3. Last week, she asked Trump to delay the State of the Union speech until after the resolution of the government shutdown.
Her request sparked heated debate between the president and congressional Democrats, and speculation about how Trump might respond.