House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) walked back his remarks in which he stated President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address was effectively canceled, telling the Fox News Channel Wednesday evening that the planned speech was, in fact, “not officially off.”
A partial transcript is as follows:
BRETT BAIER: First of all, is the State of the Union officially off?
REP. STENY HOYER: No, I don’t think it’s officially off we — I had not seen the speaker’s letter. What she suggests is a real security problem, unless we’ve opened up the government. Uh So — and we haven’t gotten a reply from the president and his thoughts. So, it’s not officially off, no.
BAIER: So, the Homeland Security Secretary tweeted out the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. 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 and secure our homeland. They suggest there’s not an issue here.
REP. HOYER: Well, I’ve heard that and we’ll see what the president has to say. But, obviously, the speaker is absolutely correct. This is a very high-security event, as you well know. You have all the Supreme Court, you have all the Cabinet, you have the vice president and the president, and the Speaker of the House and the majority leader and minority leaders of the United States Senate. So, it’s a very high-security issue. But, the other thing from my perspective, Bret, is we ought not to be doing business as usual with a government shutdown that has 800,000 of its people not getting paid, including everyone one of secret service agents that there would be assigned.
Now, it’s tough to believe that they’re on highest security alert when they’re concerned about whether they’re going to get a paycheck and be able to pay their mortgage. So, from that standpoint, I think the speaker’s point was well taken and our position has been we ought to open up this government and then proceed with the business of government while it’s operating, not while its shutdown.