As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a congressional delegation were sitting on a bus, waiting to depart for a major foreign trip, President Trump pulled the rug out from under them, telling Pelosi in a letter that the trip would have to be postponed “due to the shutdown.”
The letter was designed to mock the speaker’s disingenuous call for a delay of the State of the Union address due to the shutdown:
“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 American workers not receiving pay, I am sure you would agree that postponing this public relations event is totally appropriate,” Trump wrote in the retaliatory letter.
“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 certainly be your prerogative.”
— Stephanie Grisham (@PressSec) January 17, 2019
According to Fox News correspondent Kevin Corke, the members of the congressional delegation were already sitting on the bus waiting to leave when Trump pulled the plug on the trip. Then there were “furious calls going back and forth … between the Hill, State, Pentagon and White House.”
Democrats on the trip included Reps Eliot Engel (D-NY), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Mark Takano (D-CA), Susan Davis (D-CA), and Stephen Lynch (D-MA), according to Corke.
The military aircraft carrying the group was set to leave at 3 p.m. EST, Fox News reported.
The congressional delegation’s luggage was returned to Pelosi’s office:
— Free Beacon (@FreeBeacon) January 17, 2019
A senior White House official also told Fox News that all congressional delegation travel by military aircraft is now postponed.
An official said that “as soon as the president found out about the trip today, he took immediate action.” A source told Fox News that when moving to cancel Thursday’s flight, the White House reasoned that the trip would keep Pelosi out of the country beyond next Tuesday night—when the next government pay period would occur.
“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,” a senior White House official told Fox News.
Pelosi’s spokesman Drew Hammill said that the purpose of the trip was to meet with allies and “express appreciation & thanks to our men & women in uniform for their service & dedication,” and noted that there was no planned stop in Egypt.
A CNN reporter who called Pelosi’s threat to cancel the SOTU a “power move” was appalled by Trump’s “low road” move.
Pelosi postponing State of the Union based on unsubstantiated security concerns="power move"
Trump postponing CODEL at the last minute="low road" pic.twitter.com/c1MAnvQSTh
— Michael Shapiro (@mis2127) January 17, 2019
This Business Insider reporter complained that the shutdown didn’t stop Trump (the commander in chief) from going to Iraq.
While admitting that Pelosi’s threat to delay the SOTU was “irresponsible and blatantly political,” Senator Graham called the president’s action “inappropriate” because “one sophomoric response does not deserve another.”
I beg to differ. Democrats are used to lying and playing dirty and getting away with it because the media lets them and Republicans like Graham don’t want to stoop to their level.
But Trump has proven over and over again that he can be as sophomoric and petty as the Democrats and then some. This Honey Badger president don’t care and a lot of people are actually loving it:
Not everyone dismayed Trump grounded Pelosi, on day 27 of shutdown.
Senate GOPer says: “We were clapping here!”
And a Wall Street source says: “This was awesome … Made the trading floor’s day.”
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) January 17, 2019