On a purely aural level, I can think of few things more grating than listening to President Donald Trump smarm his way through a speech about the government. Compound Trump’s singular speech patterns with the looming fact that the man is essentially holding the government hostage in a partial shutdown because he has not been given money to build a pointless and xenophobic wall, and it’s safe to say that a would-be State of the Union address might set off an IRL reenactment of The Purge movie series.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, thankfully, doesn’t want to let that happen; on Wednesday, she officially rescinded her invitation for Trump to deliver the annual address in front of Congress, and doubled down on the decision that “the House will not consider a concurrent resolution authorizing the President’s State of the Union address in the House Chamber until government has opened.”
And the man actually listened.
On January 23, Trump tweeted (how else?) his decision to wait before delivering the State of the Union, primarily because he wants to speak amidst the grandeur of the House Chamber or nothing at all.
The tweets come after an exhausting standoff between Trump and Pelosi that involved a passive-aggressively canceled trip to Afghanistan and multiple letters. After Pelosi initially suggested, a week ago, that Trump reschedule the address for after the government shutdown was over, he spent several days throwing tantrums, bluffing, and mulling alternate venues for the speech; as such, the January 23 tweets consenting to Pelosi’s terms read as a notable concession.
However, Trump said nothing about actually, y’know, ending the shutdown, a fact which Pelosi readily picked up on.
An estimated 800,000 federal government workers have gone without pay since December 22, resulting in many calling in sick or being furloughed. Others have turned to food banks or crowdsourcing sites like GoFundMe for help. Cardi B perhaps put it best, when she called on Trump supporters to come collect their president: “Our country is in a hellhole right now, all for a fucking wall” — which is the only State of the Union address I will recognize.