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GOP allies Graham, McCarthy defend Trump against Pelosi in battle over State of the Union address

FOX News logo FOX News 1/24/2019 Bradford Betz
Lindsey Graham wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera © Provided by Fox News Network LLC

It was unclear exactly what prompted President Trump's decision Wednesday night to postpone his State of the Union address, but earlier in the evening it seemed that two of his closest Republican allies -- Sen. Lindsey Graham and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy -- were standing by the president in his battle with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi regarding plans for the speech.

Graham, R-S.C., appearing on Fox News’ “Hannity,” said Pelosi had "become a nightmare for the Democratic Party" for her refusal to compromise with the president, and was dragging the party further to the left.

“She seems unreasonable, she seems to have a dislike for the president that is hurting the country, and this idea of not letting the president speak is really overplaying your hand.”

Graham said “more mainstream Democrats” have approached him this week, concerned about the “far-left rhetoric" in the House of Representatives, which Democrats control. He then commended the president for offering to extend temporary protected status for DACA recipients as a solution to end the partial government shutdown, which began more than a month ago.

Earlier in the day, Graham had tweeted that Pelosi was being "absurd, petty and shameful" in blocking the president from delivering his speech to the nation. Graham noted that the State of the Union address was "a tradition which has been carried out during times of war and peace, turmoil and tranquility."

McCarthy, R-Calif., also weighed in on "Hannity," saying Pelosi was “acting like a dictator” for canceling the president’s State of the Union.

“I truly believe history will mark this as a low point for the speaker of the House for that office, to disinvite this president,” McCarthy said of Pelosi.

In remarks earlier Wednesday, captured by C-SPAN, McCarthy accused Pelosi of "just playing politics."

By Wednesday evening, however, it looked as though President Trump had decided against pressing the issue further.

“I will do the Address when the Shutdown is over,” Trump tweeted. “I am not looking for an alternative venue for the SOTU Address because there is no venue that can compete with the history, tradition and importance of the House Chamber. I look forward to giving a “great” State of the Union Address in the near future!”

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Then later Wednesday night, Pelosi responded to Trump's messages.

"Mr. President, I hope by saying 'near future' you mean you will support the House-passed package to #EndTheShutdown that the Senate will vote on tomorrow," Pelosi wrote. "Please accept this proposal so we can re-open government, repay our federal workers and then negotiate our differences."

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