Things in Washington D.C. have devolved to the point where Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has told President Donald Trump, citing specious security concerns, that he delay his State of the Union address to Congress or deliver that address in writing.
Trump, in retaliation, has canceled an overseas trip Pelosi and other lawmakers had planned.
What a mess. But in this moment, perhaps there is also an opportunity.
The State of the Union address has become a boring and rote bit of political theater, from the posturing over those invited to the speech to the saccharine applause lines, it’s a manifestation of a lot of what’s wrong in the D.C. swamp.
So what if we move the speech out of the swamp?
While a state of the union report to Congress is mandated by the constitution – Article II, Section 3 states that presidents “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” – how that report is delivered isn’t mandated. Traditionally it’s a speech delivered to a joint session of Congress, but it doesn’t have to be that.
It could be a written report delivered to Congress.
It could even be a speech delivered in another part of the country (with a report of that speech sent to Congress).
Which makes me think that Governor Doug Burgum should invite President Trump to North Dakota to deliver his State of the Union address, perhaps starting a new tradition where the president delivers that address from some chosen spot in America instead of in Congress.
Burgum should appreciate this. After all, he made the decision last year to deliver an off-year state of the state address in Bismarck. Traditionally governors deliver those addresses only to the biannual legislative sessions, and only in Bismarck.
Burgum broke with tradition, and it was the right thing to do.
Perhaps, then, Burgum might see the appeal in asking Trump to break with tradition as well.