Hardball: Trump Pulled the Plug on Pelosi Trip as Members Were Sitting on Bus
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.”
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:
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.