Wednesday, January 16, 2019

She Doesn't Have to Ask

Per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has asked President Donald Trump to postpone his State of the Union address to the nation -- set for Jan. 29 -- until the government reopens.

The White House hasn’t immediately responded to a request for comment about Pelosi’s request, which she made in a letter to the president.

This isn't something Pelosi has to "ask" for.

The president of the United States delivers the State of the Union address at the invitation of the Speaker of the House -- Nancy Pelosi. She issued that invitation on January 3, and she can withdraw it any time she likes.

That's what she should do, instead of "asking" him about rescheduling.

If the Speaker of the House doesn't invite the president of the United States to visit and address the  chamber she reigns over, the House Sergeant at Arms will (presumably politely, at least the first time) simply decline to let him in the door if he shows up.

Trivia bit: It is ritual, when the Queen of England wishes to visit and address the House of Commons, for her to be refused entrance the first time she asks.*

* Egg-on Face Update: No, it's not exactly like that. In fact, the Queen does not and may not visit the House of Commons. No monarch since Charles I has been allowed to set foot in their chamber (Charles showed up to arrest five members, thus the ban). The procedure for the State Opening of Parliament includes this, per the Telegram:

When the Queen sits down (in the House of Lords) the Lord Great Chamberlain signals to an official, known as The Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod in his capacity as the Sovereign's Messenger to summon the House of Commons and demand their presence.

As he approaches the Commons, the door of the Chamber is slammed in Black Rod's face to demonstrate the supremacy of the Lower House over the Lords.

He knocks three times with his Black Rod, from which he derives his name, and is finally admitted.

He says: ''Mr Speaker. The Queen commands this Honourable House'' - bowing to the left and to the right as he does so - ''to attend Her Majesty immediately in the House of Peers.''

This tradition is a reminder of the right of the Commons to exclude everyone but the Sovereign's messengers.

GMTA Update: Kevin D. Williamson at National Review agrees.

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