President Trump on Thursday postponed Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s upcoming international trip due to the ongoing government shutdown — the same justification Pelosi provided when asking that the president delay his State of the Union address.
In a letter sent to Pelosi’s office on Thursday, Trump suggested that her upcoming trip to Brussels, Egypt, and Afghanistan, which he characterized as a “public relations event,” should be cancelled so that the speaker could remain in Washington to negotiate a compromise that would end the historically lengthy government shutdown. Staffers and lawmakers were en route to board a military jet and begin the trip on Thursday afternoon when Trump released the letter.
“I am sorry to inform you that your trip to Brussels, Egypt and Afghanistan has been postponed. We will reschedule this seven day excursion when the shutdown is over. In light of the 800,000 great American workers not receiving their pay, I am sure you would agree that postponing this public relations event is totally appropriate,” Trump wrote. “I also feel that, during this period, it would be better in Washington negotiating with me and joining the Strong Border Security movement to end the shutdown.”
The president did, however, allow that Pelosi might make the previously unannounced congressional trip on a commercial flight, which, he wrote, “would certainly be [her] prerogative.”
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) January 17, 2019
It had not been previously reported that Pelosi would be traveling to Afghanistan to visit U.S. troops — a stop she will presumably be prevented from making due to Trump’s refusal to authorize the use of military aircraft, which is typically provided to the speaker of the House for such congressional trips.
The trip postponement comes just a day after Pelosi, citing security concerns, urged Trump to delay his State of the Union address — currently scheduled for January 29 — until the government shutdown concludes. She alternatively suggested that he deliver the address to Congress in writing, as was the uninterrupted custom until 1913, or deliver it from the Oval Office.
The White House has not responded to Pelosi’s request and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen issued a statement on Wednesday indicating the relevant agencies were prepared to secure the House chamber for the speech, despite the shutdown.
A number of prominent Republicans, including Minority Whip Steve Scalise, similarly dismissed Pelosi’s security concerns.
“There are no security concerns that have been raised and that has nothing to do with that. Ironically, it seems like she’s only concerned about security when it’s a State of the Union that will expose what this fight is all about,” Scalise told reporters Wednesday, referencing the government shutdown, then in its 25th day.
Pelosi, confronted Wednesday night with Nielsen’s statement contradicting her claims about the lack of security preparedness, told reporters, “I don’t care what they said.”