President Donald Trump apparently retaliated against Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) after she asked him to postpone his State of the Union address until the government reopened by abruptly canceling her planned foreign trip via military aircraft.
The government partially shut down just before Christmas when Democratic lawmakers refused to give Trump the $5 billion he demanded in border wall funding.
Pelosi asked Trump in a letter on Wednesday to postpone his State of the Union address, scheduled for January 29, until after the government has reopened — citing “security concerns” as the official reason.
But outlets like Politico reported that another reason for her request might be because “Democrats also don’t want to give Trump a major platform to blame them for the shutdown, when Trump’s demand for billions in wall funding has been the main driver,” according to a Democratic lawmaker close to leadership.
Although Trump did not reply directly to Pelosi’s postponement request in his Thursday letter, he notified her he was canceling her planned trip on a military plane.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted a picture of the letter.
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) January 17, 2019
“Due to the shutdown, I am sorry to inform you that your trip to Brussels, Egypt, and Afghanistan has been postponed,” Trump wrote to Pelosi. “We will reschedule this seven-day excursion when the shutdown is over.”
“In light of the 800,000 great American workers not receiving pay, I am sure you would agree that postponing this public relations event is totally appropriate,” Trump continued. “I also feel that, during this period, it would be better if you were in Washington negotiating with me and joining the Strong Border Security movement to end the shutdown.”
The president added, “Obviously, if you would like to make your journey by flying commercial, that would certainly be your prerogative.”
Fox News reporter John Roberts noted that Pelosi originally was scheduled to depart on the trip less than a hour after Trump’s letter arrived.
— John Roberts (@johnrobertsFox) January 17, 2019
Although Trump canceled Pelosi’s trip, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and his delegation to Davos for the World Economic Forum are still scheduled to depart. That’s according to NBC News’ David Gura.
— David Gura (@davidgura) January 17, 2019
One unnamed senior White House official told Fox News that Trump canceled Pelosi’s trip because she wouldn’t have returned to the U.S. until Tuesday night, which is when the next federal pay period would occur if the government were open.
“If she had gone on this trip, she would have guaranteed that 800,000 federal workers would not receive their second paycheck because she would not have been here to negotiate any kind of deal,” the official said.
Alyssa Farah, Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary, tweeted, “[email protected] is absolutely right. Had Speaker Pelosi left on her CODEL, it would all but guarantee federal workers miss another pay check & the gov’t wd remain closed. House Democrats must come to the table & negotiate.”
.@PressSec is absolutely right. Had Speaker Pelosi left on her CODEL, it would all but guarantee federal workers miss another pay check & the gov't wd remain closed. House Democrats must come to the table & negotiate. https://t.co/J81hiQ4QbB
— Alyssa Farah (@Alyssafarah) January 17, 2019
For what it’s worth, although Pelosi cited security reasons for her postponement request, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Wednesday that “the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Secret Service are fully prepared to support and secure the State of the Union. We thank the service for their mission focus and dedication and for all they do each day to secure our homeland.”
The Department of Homeland Security and the US Secret Service are fully prepared to support and secure the State of the Union. We thank the Service for their mission focus and dedication and for all they do each day to secure our homeland.
— Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen (@SecNielsen) January 16, 2019
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