House Speaker Nancy Pelosi renewed her call to postpone the State of the Union address but changed her reasons Thursday, saying her worry isn’t that the Secret Service can’t do its job but rather that they shouldn’t be asked to do it while they’re not getting paid.
She also chided President Trump for his lack of a response to her suggestion that the Jan. 29 speech be put off.
“Very silent,” she said.
Mrs. Pelosi signaled she hasn’t decided what she will do if Mr. Trump refused her suggestion to delay the speech.
On Wednesday, she wrote a letter to the president saying she had “security concerns” about being able to go ahead with the speech during the partial government shutdown, saying it took dozens of agencies to coordinate, and much of the burden falls on the Secret Service, which is part of the Homeland Security Department and is affected by the shutdown.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen shot down those fears, saying the Secret Service is “fully prepared” to handle the speech. Congress, which hosts the president, should also be prepared, since lawmakers last year already approved their own funding and they aren’t affected by the shutdown.
After that pushback, Mrs. Pelosi shifted her argument Thursday, saying she believes the Secret Service can protect the event successfully — but they shouldn’t have to as long as they’re not getting paid for the work.
“Maybe he thinks it’s OK not to pay people who do work. I don’t,” she said.
“It isn’t a question of are they professional enough,” she said. “The question is they should be paid.”