Washington— President Donald Trump declared his yearly State of the Union address "canceled" on Wednesday after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would not allow him to deliver the speech in the House chamber while the government is shut down.
"She doesn't want to hear the truth. She doesn't want the American public to hear what's going on," Trump said from the Cabinet Room after Pelosi made her intentions known in a letter.
Trump bemoaned the decision, calling it a "great blotch on the incredible country we love."
"It's a great, great, horrible mark," Trump said.
Trump had insisted earlier in a letter that he was planning on presenting his annual address from the chamber of the US House next week as planned, essentially daring the body's top Democrat to formally disinvite him from delivering the yearly message.
Hours later, Pelosi appeared to take the dare, saying she would refuse to bring up for a vote a measure that would allow Trump to speak.
"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 the government has opened," Pelosi wrote.
Speaking from the White House Roosevelt Room as Pelosi's letter became public, the President vowed to formally respond soon.
"I'm not surprised," Trump said. "It's really a shame what's happening with the Democrats. They've become radicalized. They don't want to see crime stopped."
Asked about a new venue, Trump said only: "We'll see."
The back-and-forth escalated one of the rancorous subplots of the extended standoff over border security that has shuttered government agencies and left hundreds of thousands of federal workers without pay.
Even as the two leaders wrote each other in letters dripping with barely veiled disgust, they did not plan to meet face-to-face and haven't spoken directly in weeks.
Trump's letter, written with characteristic flourish, dismissed concerns raised by Pelosi about security during a partial government shutdown. The Democratic speaker controls the chamber's proceedings and must allow for a vote on his speech.
"I will be honoring your invitation, and fulfilling my constitutional duty, to deliver important information to the people and Congress of the United States of America regarding the State of our Union," Trump wrote in his letter.
He said he'd consulted with Secret Service and Homeland Security officials, who told him of "absolutely no problem regarding security with respect to the event." And he declared the speech would occur on Tuesday from the House chamber.
"It would be so very sad for our country, if the State of the Union were not delivered on time, on schedule, and very importantly, on location!" he wrote.
As speaker, it is Pelosi's prerogative to invite the President to deliver the annual address. Both the House and the Senate would need to pass resolutions convening a Joint Session of Congress before the President's appearance.
The letter was the latest in a round of squabbling over the yearly speech, which is a constitutional requirement that has been caught up in the back-and-forth over border security and reopening shuttered government agencies.
Pelosi initially wrote Trump last week to inform him the speech should be delayed, or delivered in writing, since the law enforcement agencies tasked with protecting the Capitol during the event are affected by the shutdown.
The Department of Homeland Security later cast those concerns aside, saying its agents and officers had been preparing for months to protect the venue, and would be ready shutdown or not. (CNN)