WASHINGTON (AP) – The counter-puncher caved.
President Donald Trump's State of the Union address under pressure from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's surprised allies, who has been working on alternative speech
"Well, it's really her choice," Trump said, acknowledging Pelosi had the upper hand when it came to schedule the traditional presidential address to Congress.
So Trump, who is typically loathing to show any sign of weakness, has made a highly uncharacteristic statement
The conclusion that there is no viable alternative that could match the gravitas of the traditional State of the Union, in which all three branches of government come together under one roof, drawing the president's largest television audience of the year. An alternative speech or rally has thus become a hard sell for television networks, which took this month for airing the president's prime-time Oval Office address.
"I I think that would be disrespectful to the State of the Union, "Trump said Thursday. "I could've gone to a big auditorium and got 25,000 people in one day and you've been there many times. But I think that would be disrespectful to the State of the Union. "
Trump went so far as to praise Pelosi's move as" reasonably reasonable "- although he had blasted her position just a day earlier.
Throughout his presidency, Trump has reveled in his take-no-prisoners negotiating style ̵
"Nobody's ever seen him make such a concession in public, "said former campaign aide Sam Nunberg.
As late as Wednesday afternoon, officials had been busy discussing contingency locations, including a rally- "The only thing I can think of is that he is not going to like the optics." style event, at Oval Office address, a speech in the Senate chamber and even a visit to a border state.
"White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders had said Wednesday.  But White House officials were caught guarding when Pelosi announced that she would block Trump from speaking until the shutdown ended. Indeed, at least some signs of a speculation have come to pass. "
Late Wednesday, Trump announced that he would postpone the speech" because there "This is a stage that no modern president wants to vacate," said Donald Ritchie, a former Senate historian.
On the Trump-friendly show "Fox and Friends," co-anchor Brian Kilmeade applauded the move.
"I can understand why the president decides he will go in there."
19659011] "I really respect the president's decision to keep some type of tradition and semblance of order. Kilmeade said.
The decision came before the Senate voted on – and failed to pass – dueling bills to end the shutdown. And it raises questions about what comes next in Trump's evolving strategy on the budget fight. Trump and Pelosi, who have not spoken, said: "On Friday, hundreds of thousands of federal workers were forced to leave."
in weeks. But former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, an informal adviser to the president, argued it could be a positive step.
"I assume that it is an effort on its part to signal it along. And now we'll see whether Pelosi wants to come back and be well, "said Gingrich.
If that's the case, it would be a notable new approach to the president, said Trump biographer Michael D'Antonio. He said that in Trump's life before politics, he never retreated, instead of deflecting, blame others, or simply declare himself a success even when he was not, insisting, for instance, that "The Apprentice" show was a hit even
"The President's decision to delay the State of the Union speech is an unprecedented moment of realism in the life of a man who has always promoted himself as a fantasy figure who always wins at everything, "said D'Antonio, the author of" The Truth About Trump. "
" For him to buckle in the face of a challenge from an opponent, and a woman no less, is truly a historic event. "
David Bauder and Kevin Freking contributed to this report.