Trump gives in to Pelosi on State of the Union

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President Donald Trump ended the week-long skirmish over the timing of his State of the Union address Wednesday night by agreeing to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s request to delay the speech until the government shutdown is resolved.

The move is a reversal from his position from earlier in the day, when the White House said it would proceed with plans for an address — either in the House chamber or at an alternative location — and it capped a day of public gamesmanship between the two leaders in which each sought to use the event to pressure the other to give ground on the shutdown, which has extended more than a month with no end in sight.

Pelosi last week had turned the largely symbolic gesture of scheduling a State of the Union into a partisan battle by rescinding her initial offer of hosting the prime time speech, citing security concerns given the the Homeland Security Department and the Secret Service are both affected by the 33-day long shutdown.

Recognizing that the House chamber was no longer an option, the White House was left with either foregoing a live bipartisan audience in favor of an Oval Office address or further departing from protocol and recent history by delivering the speech from a location outside of Washington. A third option — delivering the speech from the other side of the Capitol, the Republican-controlled Senate — was deemed undesirable.

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