The president is insisting on delivering his State of the Union address despite critical shortages in security staffing due to the government shutdown.
However, because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi controls whether or not a resolution to convene a joint session of Congress, it is unclear whether or not anyone would be there to hear his address in the first place.
Pelosi previously declined to invite the president to deliver the address on the basis that shortages in security staff would endganger government officials. During a SOTU, virtually every member of the government is present, from lawmakers to Supreme Court Justices, requiring an immense security detail.
While there doesn’t necessarily need to be a joint session of Congress in order for the president to enter the House, if no session is called no one will be present, much less TV networks, and — let’s be honest — the publicity is all the president really cares about.
Things could get quite heated, however, as Pelosi also has the right to censure or remove the president from the House chamber if he delivers his address without her permission, although there is no precedent for a president defying the wishes of the House speaker.
According to CNN’s Jim Acosta, who has had his own fair share of turbulence with the administration, reports that the president is considering delivering the SOTU outside the White House, or even turning it into a rally to circumvent Pelosi.