Manchin: Pelosi Disinviting Trump for SOTU Is the ‘Wrong Approach’

• January 16, 2019 12:54 pm


Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) said on Wednesday that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) disinviting President Donald Trump to give his State of the Union speech is the "wrong approach."

MSNBC anchor Hallie Jackson asked Manchin if he thought Pelosi was making a political power play with her letter to Trump requesting they work together to reschedule the State of the Union address.

"I'm not sure what her intentions are—I have much respect for Speaker Pelosi—but I think this is a wrong approach to be taking," Manchin said. "The approach by saying we're going to shut this down … because of security—I think our staff, and I spoke to Capitol police, they're still in and getting paid."

Pelosi sent a letter to the White House on Wednesday requesting the president and her work to reschedule his State of the Union speech because of the ongoing partial government shutdown. She cited security concerns as the reason for the change.

"Sadly, given the security concerns and unless government reopens this week, I suggest 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.

While she didn't disinvite Trump in the letter from giving the speech altogether, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D., Md.) said Pelosi "disinvited" Trump.

"Do you think the president should speak?" Jackson asked.

"He has to be invited by the House," Manchin said.

"Would you encourage the speaker to reconsider?"Jackson followed up.

"We should have every type of respectful dialogue we can. Where I come from in West Virginia, we don't act this way," Manchin said.

"Here in Washington, apparently they do," Jackson said.

"Apparently it's acceptable," Manchin said.

Manchin suggested lawmakers have a responsibility to find a pathway forward amidst their disagreements, saying Trump could sign six bills that would fund 90 percent of the government and then lawmakers could continue to debate funding for homeland security.

"The six bills we have in front of us that would open up 90 percent of the government, 96 percent of all funding would be restored, and then you can find over the one and we can have a continuing resolution for 30 days or whatever it takes to work out our differences on homeland security, security at the border, immigration differences – those six bills, in my lifetime of public service, I have never seen holding so many people hostage," Manchin said.

Trump rejected a similar idea, proposed by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) this week, to temporarily reopen the government for three weeks.