McCarthy: 'History Will Mark This as a Low Point for the Speaker of the House'

By Susan Jones | January 24, 2019 | 5:26am EST
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) says Speaker Pelosi is "acting like a dictator" and "trying to change history" by disinviting President Trump to deliver the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress. (Photo: Screen capture/Fox News)

( - Since 1913, when President Woodrow Wilson delivered his State of the Union address in person to a joint session of Congress, there have been 83 occasions when other presidents have done the same thing -- until now, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told Fox News's Sean Hannity Wednesday night.

In a letter to President Trump on Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) wrote: "I am writing to inform you that the House of Representatives will not consider a concurrent resolution authorizing the President’s State of the Union address in the House Chamber until government has opened."


Pelosi disinvited the president after he wrote to her on Wednesday, taking her up on her earlier, Jan. 3 invitation to deliver the address in person.

"I truly believe history will mark this as a low point for the Speaker of the House, for that office, to disinvite this president. That's why tomorrow, Sean, I am bringing forth to the floor a privileged resolution disapproving of the actions of this Speaker," McCarthy said.

McCarthy said the resolution will allow Democrats who don't agree with Pelosi's intransigence to express their disapproval.

"So what speaker Pelosi is doing is almost acting like a dictator," McCarthy said. "By bringing a privileged resolution allows a vote on the floor to disapprove of this action. Because I believe, at no other time in America, it is more important now to have the president, the senators, the House members, Republican and Democrats alike, all in one place talking about where America's at today and where we can go in the future.

"This is bigger than just our country. The world watches the State of the Union. And you know what's most concerning to me? Since 1934 there has not been a state of the union past February 2nd. She is putting politics before people and she's running it almost like a dictatorship."

In two tweets Wednesday night, President Trump rejected suggestions that he deliver the address in another location -- in the Senate chamber, for example, or even at a location along the Southwest border.

Trump emphasized the "history, tradition and importance" of giving the speech in the House chamber:

As the Shutdown was going on, Nancy Pelosi asked me to give the State of the Union Address. I agreed. She then changed her mind because of the Shutdown, suggesting a later date. This is her prerogative - I will do the Address when the Shutdown is over. I am not looking for an....

....alternative venue for the SOTU Address because there is no venue that can compete with the history, tradition and importance of the House Chamber. I look forward to giving a “great” State of the Union Address in the near future!

Pelosi later tweeted back: "Mr. President, I hope by saying 'near future' you mean you will support the House-passed package to #EndTheShutdown that the Senate will vote on tomorrow. Please accept this proposal so we can re-open government, repay our federal workers and then negotiate our differences."

Pelosi "is trying to change history," McCarthy said.

"Since 1913, Woodrow Wilson came in person. There's been 83 times since then that that has taken place. Now Speaker Pelosi is trying to change history. Now, we have to have a vote to make sure both houses come together. So I introduced that resolution today where people can join on that bill to...move it forward.

"If Speaker Pelosi will deny the vote of the American people -- deny the American people to hear from their president. And what's most concerning to me, look at what history has done. When we were in the power in the House, did we ever disinvite Barack Obama? No."

Earlier on Wednesday, Trump said Pelosi is blocking him from speaking to Congress "because she doesn't want to hear the truth. She doesn't want the American public to hear what's going on. And she's afraid of the truth."

Trump called Pelosi's move "a great blotch on the incredible country that we all love. It's a great, great, horrible mark. I don't believe it's ever happened before, and it's always good to be part of history. But this is a very negative part of history. This is where people are afraid to open up and say what's going on. So it's a very, very negative part of history."

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