WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump will deliver the annual State of the Union address next week after accepting an invitation from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who had postponed it due to the partial shutdown of the U.S. government.
The nationally televised address from the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives, now set for Feb. 5, presents Trump with a powerful opportunity to appeal directly to the American public to support his policies, including his demand that Congress fund a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.
The speech had originally been scheduled for Jan. 29, but Pelosi canceled it last week, saying it should not be delivered until a partial government shutdown was over. The record-long shutdown, brought about by a fight between the White House and Democrats in Congress over his wall funding demands, ended on Friday after 35 days, paving the way for the speech to go ahead.
In a letter to Trump on Monday that she posted to Twitter, Pelosi said the two had spoken and agreed on the new date.
"It is my great honor to accept," Trump wrote in reply.
In mid-January, Pelosi had suggested to Trump that he reschedule the speech, citing security concerns related to the shutdown, and the next day Trump blocked an overseas trip Pelosi had planned in a move many saw as retribution.
Last Wednesday, Trump told Pelosi he was looking forward to delivering the speech as scheduled, but Pelosi - the top ranking Democrat in Congress - quickly yanked her invitation in what was widely seen as an effort to deprive Trump of the national spotlight in the middle of the border wall fight.
(Reporting by Makini Brice and Tim Ahmann; editing by Grant McCool and James Dalgleish)