He lost the impeachment war, but Chuck Schumer can claim victory in the State of the Union battle.
The delay of the final vote in President Trump’s impeachment saga until Wednesday guarantees that he will still be under a cloud when he delivers his annual State of the Union address at the US Capitol Tuesday night — even though his acquittal is a sure bet.
“He would have gone rogue and just turned it into the icing of his own defense,” a senior Democratic Senate aide told The Post. “Now he’ll have to talk about issues, because he still won’t be acquitted.”
White House speechwriters are toiling this weekend over Trump’s talk, which his campaign intends to use as a pivot to the November election.
“The President will lay out a vision of relentless optimism,” a senior administration official said.
The Senate voted Friday, 51-49, not to pursue new witnesses in the impeachment trial.
But the acquittal vote was delayed for five days as part of a deal worked out by Senate Minority Leader Schumer and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Schumer agreed not to prolong the trial indefinitely with a long list of amendment proposals, each of which would have to be debated under Senate rules.
McConnell added extra time to the schedule and got to seal the trial record – no matter how many bombshells may drop in the coming days.
McConnell had to talk most of his conference into the plan Friday, The Hill reported. Conservatives pushed for an immediate acquittal.
But the delay has a silver lining for the party, said GOP strategist Evan Siegfried.
“It’s protecting the institution,” Siegfried said. “The State of the Union can be partisan, but they don’t want it to turn into a Trump rally.”
It could become victory lap of sorts for Brexit boss Nigel Farage, fresh off the UK’s split from the European Union.
Farage will be one of Trump’s featured guests at the speech, The Times of London reported.
The divisive British populist campaigned for Trump in 2016 – and has become a cult figure among some American conservatives.