Nancy Pelosi Lied About Reason for Delaying State of the Union
On Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took the extraordinary step of asking President Donald Trump to delay or cancel this year’s State of the Union address.
Only two weeks after sending Trump an invitation to speak before Congress on January 29, Pelosi sent a letter retracting the invitation, blaming the government shutdown for her sudden reversal. While House Democrats had been planning to make a spectacle of themselves during the SOTU – inviting furloughed workers and other stunt guests to disrupt the speech – Pelosi decided to cut the Gordian Knot and deny the president an audience in the first place.
In an effort to make her decision look like something less than a nakedly partisan move, Pelosi said that the shutdown precluded the Secret Service from properly securing the State of the Union address.
“The U.S. Secret Service was designated as the lead federal agency responsible for coordinating, planning, exercising, and implementing security for National Special Security Events,” she wrote in her letter to the president. “However, both the U.S. Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security [DHS] have not been funded for 26 days now — with critical departments hamstrung by furloughs. Sadly, given the security concerns and unless government re-opens this week, I suggest that we work together to determine another suitable date after government has re-opened for this address or for you to consider delivering your State of the Union address in writing to the Congress on January 29th.”
Few took this excuse seriously. Even before reports emerged that Democrats stood up and cheered when Pelosi read them the letter, it was widely understood that this was a political move that had little or nothing to do with security. But if you were inclined to give Pelosi the benefit of the doubt, representatives from Homeland Security and the Secret Service have both come out to say that the House Speaker was lying about the security concerns.
“The Secret Service was never contacted by congressional leadership regarding our security plan or the Secret Service’s ability to carry it out,” a senior DHS official told The Daily Caller on Thursday.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen likewise went on the record to refute Pelosi’s account of the situation.
“The Department of Homeland Security and the US Secret Service are fully prepared to support and secure the State of the Union,” Nielsen tweeted. “We thank the Service for their mission focus and dedication and for all they do each day to secure our homeland.”
Guess we missed this Washington Post headline: Speaker Pelosi Claims, Without Evidence, That Secret Service Cannot Secure SOTU During Shutdown.
Pelosi simply wants to prevent President Trump from lecturing congressional Democrats on immigration for an hour in front of a captive audience of U.S. voters. Perhaps that’s because she knows that the more Americans hear the truth about this shutdown, the more untenable her position is going to get.