Opinion

DENNARD: Democratic Theatrics Aside, Trump Must Ensure The Show Goes On

Paris Dennard Contributor

Petty is not a word I thought would be appropriate to describe a speaker of the United States House. However, when Nancy Pelosi found time to write a letter to the president in an effort to “disinvite” him from delivering his constitutionally mandated State of the Union address, she showed that it was an appropriate description. For Pelosi, politics matter more than actual service to the public.

It is almost laughable that Speaker Pelosi is trying to now hold the Congress hostage, preventing them from hearing from the president citing national security. “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 wrote.

Article II, Section 3, Clause 1 of the United States Constitution states that the president “shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” There is no mention of a televised prime time address, inside the United States House of Representative, in January with members of the Cabinet, Supreme Court, Joint Chiefs, and invited guests.

President Trump should ignore her letter, fulfill his obligation and deliver information to the Congress in a speech anyway. He has a few options to counter Pelosi’s blatantly political move.

The first option: Since the location is not mandated by the Constitution, Trump can update Congress from any location, such as Union Station or a large hotel ballroom in D.C. Work with organizations like the Center for Advancing Opportunity, the Bipartisan Policy Center, or the Chamber of Commerce to host an event where each member of Congress is invited to hear the president give his update.

The second option: The president of the Senate, Vice President Mike Pence, can work with the Sergeant at Arms Michael C. Stenger to determine if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can invite President Trump to the Senate and invite members of the House of Representatives to attend.

The third option: President Trump could give the address from the East Room of the White House and invite as many members of the House and Senate as he would like. The White House could have monitors and seats in the Green Room, Blue Room, Red Room, State Dining Room, and the Grand Foyer to accommodate everyone not seated in the East Room.

After his message to Congress, President Trump should do what he does best by taking his message on the road and delivering it directly to the people. He could work with the governors of Arizona, Texas, Florida, Ohio, West Virginia and Michigan to speak to local governments in special presidential sessions where he could lay out his vision. He could highlight local people, businesses and legislators, and he could get out of the swamp and back to the American people.

Not every Congress must attend the State of the Union. As petty as Pelosi has become, I am sure there will be an edict given to prevent members of the Democratic caucus from attending. Even without any threat, there is precedent for congressmen and women from both sides of the aisle refusing to attend presidential events.

This latest political stunt seems to be the real manufactured issue of the day, because there are no security concerns. Capitol police are fully capable, ready and willing to do their jobs. They will work with the United States Secret Service and Department of Homeland Security to effectively secure all areas for such an event.

With all due respect to Speaker Pelosi and her threat assessment, I defer to Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, who said her department and the Secret Service are “fully prepared to support and secure the State of the Union.”

Pelosi should spend more time coming up with solutions to secure the border, open the government and work with the president. The time she is wasting on these petty pranks is time that could be devoted to actually negotiating and being serious about the indisputable crisis on our southern border.

I hope President Trump delivers his speech on Jan. 29. Speaker Pelosi will listen, Congress will attend, and the American people will watch. The president must carry out all of his duties as our duly elected president of the United States of America. As Pelosi knows, despite the best efforts of the Democrats and socialists in Congress, the State of our Union is strong. It’s made stronger by the president and his agenda, and Democrats do not want to let that message get out.

Paris Dennard (@ParisDennard) is a member of President Trump’s Commission on White House Fellows. He worked previously as director of black outreach in the George W. Bush White House.


 The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.