House Speaker Nancy Pelosi apparently thought she could cancel President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address over “security concerns,” but the Secret Service had a different take on it.
On Wednesday, Pelosi wrote a letter to Trump suggesting that the partial government shutdown will interfere with security at the State of the Union address.
“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.
Today, I wrote to @realDonaldTrump recommending that we delay the State of the Union until after government re-opens, as the @SecretService, the lead federal agency for #SOTU security, faces its 26th day without funding. https://t.co/K2oL8WGvqo pic.twitter.com/g3fIlxDbbK
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) January 16, 2019
Pelosi specifically mentioned the Secret Service in her letter.
“The U.S. Secret Service was designated as the lead federal agency responsible for coordinating, planning, exercising, and implementing security for National Special Security Events. However, both the U.S. Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security [DHS] have not been funded for 26 days now — with critical departments hamstrung by furloughs,” Pelosi added.
Pelosi must have thought she had a nice trick going. She could achieve a crassly political goal — shutting down the State of the Union address and keeping the president from making his case to the American people — while pretending she was acting out of concern about “security.”
However, according to The Daily Caller, a senior law enforcement source said Pelosi never even reached out to the Secret Service or the Department of Homeland Security before writing to Trump.
“The Secret Service was never contacted by congressional leadership regarding our security plan or the Secret Service’s ability to carry it out,” the official said.
Additionally, the Secret Service already had its security plans for the event prepared months ago, according to NBC reporter Pete Williams.
From @petewilliamsnbc on Secret Service & SOTU “It’s a no-fail mission,” the official says.
“We’ve been planning for this for months, as we always do. It didn’t start up 29 days ago,” @SecretService is not being paid during shutdown
— Kelly O’Donnell (@KellyO) January 16, 2019
Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen also contradicted Pelosi’s concerns.
“The Department of Homeland Security and the US Secret Service are fully prepared to support and secure the State of the Union,” Nielsen wrote on Twitter.
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.
— Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen (@SecNielsen) January 16, 2019
Former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino told The Daily Caller that the shutdown won’t affect the agency’s ability to protect the president.
“The timing of their paychecks will have absolutely zero impact on their security plan. If Pelosi thinks the agents are going to put the POTUS in danger because they’ve missed a paycheck then she should find a new line of work,” Bongino said.
Pelosi should know that the Secret Service is prepared to protect the president despite the shutdown.
It seems likely that she was just scrambling to stop Trump’s State of the Union address because he will certainly mention the shutdown.
Trump’s Oval Office address about the border crisis last week went better than the Democratic response, and Trump’s State of the Union address would go the same way.
Democrats are terrified that Trump will blast them in front of the entire nation again, so they are doing whatever they can to stop him.