President Donald Trump is planning for the potential of a parallel political rally to bolster his State of the Union address, ABC News reported Tuesday, citing multiple unnamed sources familiar with the planning.
In the network’s words, Trump is planning for two different “State of the Union” speeches, “one a more traditional address delivered to Congress in the House chamber or some other location in D.C., the other prepared for a political rally at a location outside of Washington, D.C.”
Technically, though, State of the Union speeches are delivered to Congress, not crowds at political rallies.
Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution states that the President “shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”
Following the first State of the Union addresses delivered in-person to Congress by George Washington and John Adams, presidents delivered these updates in written form for more than 100 years, until 1913 when Woodrow Wilson revived the practice of delivering them in-person.
But the addresses have never been — and seemingly cannot be, constitutionally — delivered in the form of a political rally.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) wrote to Trump last week that, in light of the partial government shutdown, “I suggest that we work together to determine another suitable date” for this year’s State of the Union, which was set to be held on Jan. 29. Trump eventually tweeted about it:
Nancy, I am still thinking about the State of the Union speech, there are so many options – including doing it as per your written offer (made during the Shutdown, security is no problem), and my written acceptance. While a contract is a contract, I’ll get back to you soon!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 20, 2019
Fox News’ John Roberts first reported Tuesday that the White House “has sent a letter to the Sergeant-at-Arms, asking to schedule a walk-through” to prepare for the State of the Union. Trump, Roberts said, “still plans to be at the Capitol” on Jan. 29 for the speech.