President Donald Trump has cancelled House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s foreign trip to Brussels, Egypt and Afghanistan, blaming the government shutdown for action.
“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,” Trump told Pelosi in a letter on Thursday.
“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.
“Obviously, if you would like to make your journey by flying commercial, that would certainly be your prerogative,” he added.
The trip cancellation followed Pelosi’s suggestion that Trump postpones his January 29 State of the Union address to Congress, or do it from the White House instead. Although she cited the shutdown’s effect on security, she appeared to want to deny the president one of his chief annual moments in the limelight.
The White House denied that the travel blockage was payback, but few bought the argument.
Pelosi had been slated to lead a congressional delegation on the trip beginning Thursday afternoon, an administration source confirmed, in a government plane leaving from Joint Base Andrews — the same departure point as Air Force One.
The California Democrat’s deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, said Pelosi was going to go thank U.S. troops in Afghanistan and to hear “critical” security and intelligence briefings from the front lines in the war on terror.
He disputed Trump’s assertion that the trip was to touch down in Egypt, but said it was to make a stop in Brussels where he said meetings with NATO officials were on the schedule.
Hammill also said it was to be a “weekend visit,” not the seven days the president asserted.