Just a couple of days after the House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) invited him to give his 2020 State of the Union address in early February.
In the very brief Friday letter inviting the president to give the annual update to Congress on how the country is doing, Pelosi framed her invitation as one made out of duty to the Constitution and the federal system it lays out.
"In their great wisdom, our Founders crafted a Constitution based on a system of separation of powers: three co-equal branches acting as checks on each other," Pelosi wrote.
"To ensure that balance of powers, the Constitution calls for the President to 'from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union,'" the speaker continued. "In the spirit of respecting our Constitution, I invite you to deliver your State of the Union address before a Joint Session of Congress on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 in the Chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives."
White House principal deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said Friday afternoon that the president had accepted the invitation.
The date, a Tuesday, puts the annual address just a day after the Iowa caucuses, which are slated for Feb. 3 and will be the first official statewide contest of the 2020 presidential primaries.
The early February date also makes it possible that the president could give his address while in the middle of a Senate trial over his impeachment, which is what former President Bill Clinton did in 1999. Pelosi has not yet committed to a timetable for sending the articles of impeachment over to the Senate, citing concerns about whether or not the terms of a trial would be "fair," which has resulted in uncertainty about what the upper chamber's trial timeline will look like.
Last year, Trump's State of the Union Address was delayed by the 35-day partial government shutdown, when he agreed with Pelosi's request to wait to speak until temporarily closed portions of the federal government had been reopened.