Donald Trump the Mad King runs smack into his own wall

“President” Donald Trump has informed Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi that he will deliver his State of the Union address from the House chambers, despite her telling him no. Trump again shows his ignorance of history and how any of this works. The president has no privileges on the House floor.

What must happen is that Pelosi must bring a concurrent resolution that is needed to hold a joint session of Congress. The concurrent resolution must then be adopted by both chambers for there to be a joint session. And the Senate will not work either, without both chambers signing off and adopting such a resolution. Apparently, the Mad King thinks he can do as he pleases. He cannot and allowing him to move forward would be unprecedented and a dangerous encroachment on the institutions set up by our United States Constitution.

The Constitution requires no public event or a speech, providing in Article 2, Section 3: “He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union….” Trump could theoretically convene a joint session as Article 2, Section 3 also provides: “he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them….”

However, the humanitarian crisis or the shutdown, both of which Trump is responsible for (to the extent there is a humanitarian crisis at border, it is the policies the Trump administration is enforcing), do not appear to rise to an extraordinary occasion. The last time this provision was used was in 1948, when President Truman convened both houses regarding a variety of laws he wished to be passed. Congress was adjourned at the time.

The main triggering event is that Congress is “not in session and that an extraordinary occasion has arisen which requires that it be in session,” according to an opinion from 1947 by the Attorney General at the time. Here, Congress is in session. So, no Mad King, there is no authority for you to enter the House chamber without a concurrent resolution, as the Congress is in session and not adjourned. If you do so, you may be committing trespass.

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