Update 12:57 p.m.: In a statement to reporters, Hoyer’s office is now walking back the Majority Leader’s remarks.
“Mr. Hoyer had not read Speaker Pelosi’s letter and mischaracterized it,” Hoyer spokesperson Mariel Saez said in a written statement.
WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) letter to president Donald Trump advising him to postpone this month’s State of the Union was more than just a request, according to the lower chamber’s second-highest-ranking Democrat.
It was actually a disinvitation.
“The State of the Union is off,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said during an interview on CNN Wednesday.
In a letter sent to the president Wednesday morning, Pelosi noted that the Department of Homeland Security and Secret Service are currently “hamstrung” by the ongoing partial government shutdown, thus presenting security concerns for such a high-profile event.
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
Hoyer told CNN that Trump would not be able to convince House leaders otherwise until full funding is restored.
The shutdown is currently in its 26th day, hindering approximately 25 percent of the government and requiring 800,000 federal employees to stay home or work with deferred pay.
Congress and the White House have hit an impasse over funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, a proposal that Trump has demanded $5.7 billion to fund.
Democratic lawmakers have opposed the wall, instead countering with $1.3 billion for border security.
This year’s State of the Union address was initially scheduled for January 29.
The Constitution calls for the president to deliver information on the State of the Union to Congress “from time to time,” but the televised address from the House chamber only comes at the request of the Speaker.
Pelosi suggested in her letter that Trump could either postpone the date until after the shutdown or, alternatively, deliver his address to Congress in writing.
The White House has not responded to a request for comment.