US President Donald Trump insisted in a letter on Wednesday that he would go ahead with the State of the Union address in the Chamber of the House of Representatives, telling House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that security during the partial government shutdown was not a concern.
Mr Trump said in the letter that he would be "honouring" the Speaker's original invitation, "and fulfilling my Constitutional duty" on January 29 in the Chamber of the House of Representatives
He said it would be "so very sad for our country" if the annual address to the nation was not held "on time, on schedule, and very importantly, on location!"
Ms Pelosi sent another letter, later in the month, saying that the president should consider delaying the address due to security concerns relating to the shutdown.
In the letter to the Democratic leader, the president said that the security concerns for the State of the Union during the shutdown, now in its 33rd day, was "not a problem."
"As you know, I had already accepted your kind invitation, however, I then received another letter from you dated January 16, 2019, wherein you expressed concerns regarding security during the State of the Union Address due to the shutdown.
"Even prior to asking, I was contacted by the Department of Homeland Security and the United States Secret Service to explain that there would be absolutely no problem regarding security with respect to the event."
As Speaker of the House, Ms Pelosi is required to invite the president to address the joint sitting of the House and the Senate, while both houses would need to pass a resolution to convene such a sitting.
President Trump’s letter to Speaker Pelosi on the State of the Union pic.twitter.com/B4QN9hDJnv— Kayleigh McEnany 45 Archived (@PressSec45) January 23, 2019
Earlier, on January 20, Mr Trump tweeted that he was "still thinking" about the State of the Union speech.
He said: "...there are so many options - including doing it as per your written offer (made during the Shutdown, security is no problem), and my written acceptance.
"While a contract is a contract, I’ll get back to you soon!"
Nancy, I am still thinking about the State of the Union speech, there are so many options - including doing it as per your written offer (made during the Shutdown, security is no problem), and my written acceptance. While a contract is a contract, I’ll get back to you soon!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 20, 2019