Washington: US President Donald Trump has cancelled the annual State of the Union address after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi barred him from speaking at the House Chambers while the partial government shutdown is in place.
Trump, while speaking to reporters, said that there would be an alternative to the address, without outlining the details.
He also called the cancellation a “great, great horrible mark” and a “great blotch” on the USA.
“We are supposed to be doing it and now Nancy Pelosi – or Nancy, as I call her – she doesn’t want to hear the truth and she doesn’t want to hear, more importantly, for the American people to hear the truth,” CNN quoted Trump as saying.
“I think it’s a great blotch on the incredible country that we all love. It’s a great, great, horrible mark. I don’t believe it’s ever happened before, and it’s always good to be part of history but this is a very negative part of history,” he further stated.
“I’m not surprised,” Trump remarked when asked about Pelosi’s decision to disinvite him and delay the speech.
“It’s really a shame what’s happening with the Democrats. They’ve become radicalized,” he opined.
The President’s remarks come after Pelosi wrote to him, letting him know that the speech would not take place in House chambers while the shutdown is ongoing. The House Speaker further highlighted that the address would be set for a later, “mutually agreeable” date after the shutdown is called off.
While Trump has been barred by Pelosi from giving the speech in the House Chambers, he can still deliver the address from a different location on the original date, January 29.
The partial government shutdown – the longest in US history – has been in place since December 22, due to an impasse between Trump and the Congress over funding for a wall on the US-Mexico border. At least 800,000 federal workers have gone without pay ever since, leading to repeated calls by government representatives to reopen the government.