With questions over whether President Trump will give the annual State of the Union address from Congress amid a partial government shutdown, a Michigan lawmaker has a suggestion: deliver it in Lansing.
New state House Speaker Lee Chatfield, a Republican, sent Trump a formal invitation to deliver the State of the Union address from the House chamber at Michigan’s state Capitol.
“There is no higher loyalty or obligation than to the people we serve and the communities we represent, and no partisan gamesmanship should stand in the way of that service,” Chatfield, 30, said in his letter. “Because of that, this chamber and this speaker are willing to put people before politics for this important occasion.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., urged Trump to either delay the address, scheduled for Jan. 29, or simply submit the speech in writing as the government remains partially shuttered. The partial shutdown came just before Christmas with Trump and Democrats at an impasse over funding for a border wall. It is now the longest shutdown in U.S. history.
“Sadly, given the security concerns and unless the government re-opens this week, I suggest that we work together to determine another suitable date after the government has re-opened for this address or for you to consider delivering your State of the Union address in writing to Congress on January 29,” Pelosi said.
Chatfield, the youngest Michigan House speaker in more than a century, noted that Michigan also has a “divided government,” though added, “Republicans in Michigan understand that the success of our Democratic governor means the success of Michigan.”
“Even though we disagree, we will always work together to improve the lives of our local families and seniors, because we have a solemn responsibility to do so. However, because some have chosen to stand in the way of your official duties, we would be honored to host you in our Capitol for this necessary address to our nation,” Chatfield wrote.
“Washington, D.C. may be bogged down in partisan politics, but Michigan is different. Michigan helped build this country, and we know how to get things done,” he continued. “In the Great Lakes state, we roll up our sleeves and work hard every day. That includes working collaboratively, regardless of party, and together we can prove it to the rest of the country.”
Chatfield isn’t the only one with ideas for the State of the Union. Republican Sen. Rand Paul suggested Trump deliver it from the Senate if Pelosi “refuses to allow” him to give it in the House.
State of the Union addresses haven’t always been given in person – although it’s become a more modern tradition – and it isn’t required by law. Former President Thomas Jefferson always gave his as a written statement, a practice that continued until Woodrow Wilson took over the White House. Presidents after Wilson, too, delivered written statements as opposed to an oral speech.
The White House hasn’t yet responded to Chatfield’s invitation, according to the Detroit Free Press. Chatfield didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News. His district includes Chippewa, Emmet and Mackinac counties as well as parts of Cheboygan County.
State Rep. Christine Greig, the Democratic leader, suggested the state shouldn’t be “inviting Washington’s dysfunction to Lansing” and instead should focus on Michigan’s own issues, such as health care and the water crisis.
“At a time when Michigan is focused on building bridges, we should not allow ourselves to be distracted by partisan gamesmanship,” Greig said in an emailed statement to Fox News. "Instead of inviting Washington’s dysfunction to Lansing, I am ready to work with the Speaker and Governor Whitmer to focus on the things that matter to Michigan families – fixing the roads, lowering healthcare costs, and cleaning up our water."
Trump won Michigan in the 2016 presidential election, becoming the first Republican candidate to do so since 1988.