- Homeland Security Chief Kirstjen Nielsen on Wednesday seemed to reject a call from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the president to postpone the annual State of the Union address.
- In a letter, Pelosi called on Trump to hold off on the address or submit it in writing, citing security concerns resulting from the government shutdown.
- Subsequently, Nielsen said the Department of Homeland Security and US Secret Service were “fully prepared to support and secure the State of the Union.”
Homeland Security Chief Kirstjen Nielsen on Wednesday said her agency and the US Secret Service were “fully prepared” to provide security for President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address scheduled for January 29.
In a tweet, Nielsen said, “The Department of Homeland Security and the US Secret Service are fully prepared to support and secure the State of the Union. We thank the Service for their mission focus and dedication and for all they do each day to secure our homeland.”
This came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to Trump urging him to postpone the address or submit it in written from in light of security concerns linked to the partial government shutdown.
“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,” Pelosi said in the letter.
Agents with the US Secret Service are currently not being paid, but still have to show up to work, due to the government shutdown. Homeland Security oversees the US Secret Service.
The majority of Homeland Security employees are working without pay during the shutdown.
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer at one point on Wednesday suggested Pelosi’s letter meant the address “is off,” but later walked back this claim and said he’d mischaracterized the House Speaker’s words.
The government shutdown, which began in late December, is the longest in US history and is a result of an ongoing dispute between Trump and Democratic leaders over funding for a wall he wants to build along the US-Mexico border.
Trump wants $US5.7 billion for the wall, but Democrats have refused to provide the funding for a project they have deemed unnecessary and exorbitantly expensive.
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