House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says President Donald Trump has yet to respond to her request that he postpone his State of the Union address until the government is reopened so workers can be paid for providing security for the grand Washington tradition.
"We haven't heard — very silent," she told reporters on Thursday. "Let's get a date when government is open. Let's pay the employees. Maybe he thinks it's OK not to pay people who do work. I don't."
The president's planned Jan. 29 address became a potential casualty of the four-week partial government shutdown after the Democratic leader cited concerns about whether the hobbled government can provide adequate security. Republicans cast Pelosi's move as a ploy to deny Trump the stage.
Trump declined to address the stalemate over the speech Thursday during a visit to the Pentagon, simply promising that the nation will have "powerful, strong border security."
The uncertainty surrounding the annual address also underscored the unraveling of ceremonial norms and niceties in Trump's Washington, amid the shutdown over the president's demand for money to build a U.S.-Mexico border wall. The impasse is draining the finances of hundreds of thousands of federal employees going without paychecks.
Pelosi reiterated she is more than willing to negotiate money for border security once the government is reopened, but she said Democrats remain opposed to Trump's long-promised wall, one of his signature campaign promises.
"I'm not for a wall," Pelosi said twice, mouthing the statement a third time for effect.
Pressure on Trump intensified, as lawmakers from both parties scrambled for solutions. The shutdown, already the longest ever, entered its 27th day Thursday.
While Trump's own advisers said the shutdown was proving a greater drag on the economy than expected, Trump showed no signs of backing off a fight that he views as vital for his core supporters.
For AP's complete coverage of the U.S. government shutdown: https://apnews.com/GovernmentShutdown
Associated Press writers Chris Rugaber, Darlene Superville, Matthew Daly, Jonathan Lemire, Alan Fram, Colleen Long, Andrew Taylor, Laurie Kellman, Elana Schor and Ken Sweet contributed to this report.
© Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.