Donald Trump on Thursday canceled a military plane for an overseas trip House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was set to leave on same day, saying it was inappropriate during the government shutdown.
Trump’s move serves as his response to the letter Pelosi sent him one day earlier, effectively postponing his State of the Union address unless he finds a different venue.
In his letter, Trump invited Pelosi to fly commercial into a war zone.
Informing her that he had scrubbed her military plane to Afghanistan, Brussels, and Egypt, Trump said it was her prerogative if she wants to fly commercial. As his letter was making TV news headlines, an Air Force bus could be seen parked outside her offices, which was to have taken the delegation to the plane.
Trump’s White House worked with the Air Force and Department of Defense to take away the rights to the plane from the House Speaker, CNN reported.
Trump’s letter to Pelosi:
Dear Madame Speaker:
Due to the Shutdown, 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 Americans workers not receiving pay, I am sure you would agree that postponing this public relations event is totally appropriate. 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. Obviously if you would like to make your journey by flying commercial, that would be your prerogative.
I look forward to seeing you soon and even more forward to watching our open and dangerous Southern Border finally received the attention, funding and security it so desperately deserves!
Members of Congress typically are appropriated funding for fact-finding trips. The House Speaker typically flies on a military jet to afford her the protection in keeping with being third in line to assume the role of POTUS, behind the Vice President, in the event something happens to POTUS —
particularly when flying to places as perilous as Afghanistan, in addition to Belgium, which is NATO HQ.
About 24 hours earlier, Pelosi sent Trump a letter suggesting that SOTU be delayed until he reopens the government or that he deliver it in a letter or from the Oval Office.
As House speaker, Pelosi gets to decide when and if POTUS delivers speechwriter/adviser Stephen Miller’s address to the joint session of Congress on January 29, at which, TV political pundits reported, a good-ish chunk of time would be used to pitch not the state of the union but Trump’s border wall he wants taxpayers to finance after promising that Mexico would cover costs.
Pelosi this morning rejected a suggestion she was denying Trump his platform. “I’m saying let’s get a date when the government is open. Let’s pay the employees,” she said, adding, “Maybe he thinks it’s OK not to pay people who do work. I don’t.”