A day after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested that President Donald Trump delay his State of the Union Address because of unresolved issues surrounding a partial government shutdown, the President retaliated by scrapping plans by the Speaker to use a military jet to take a group of lawmakers on an overseas trip to NATO Headquarters in Belgium, and then to see U.S. troops Afghanistan, as Mr. Trump said it would be better for Pelosi to stay in the U.S. and negotiate a deal on a border wall.
“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,” the President wrote in a letter to the Speaker.
“Obviously, if you would like to make your journey by flying commercial, that would certainly be your prerogative,” the President added, as he took the unprecedented step of pulling military travel support for what are known as “CODEL’s” – bipartisan Congressional Delegation trips around the globe, often to visit U.S. soldiers and diplomats.
Earlier in the day, the Speaker had told reporters she had not yet received a response from the White House to her suggestion of a postponement of the State of the Union.
“I’m not denying him a platform at all,” Pelosi told reporters at her weekly news conference. “I’m saying let’s get a date when the government is open.”
During her time as Speaker and House Democratic Leader, Pelosi has been well known for her extended travels around the globe, as the military provides the support and security for such lawmaker travel.
“Yet another petty, childish temper tantrum by the President of the United States,” said Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI).
The announcement by the President came as lawmakers were actually gathering on a military bus on Capitol Hill, to be taken to Joint Base Andrews for their departure.
The move left some in the Congress exasperated.
“One sophomoric response does not deserve another,” tweeted Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who said the Speaker was wrong to threaten to cancel the State of the Union.
“President Trump denying Speaker Pelosi military travel to visit our troops in Afghanistan, our allies in Egypt and NATO is also inappropriate,” Graham added.