In a seemingly retaliatory move, President Donald Trump canceled House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) plans to visit Afghanistan on the day she was set to leave.
“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,” he wrote.
Trump also suggested Pelosi, a top politician and third in line to the presidency, could fly into the war zone on a commercial airline.
Read the full letter:
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) January 17, 2019
The letter mimics a similar letter Pelosi sent to Trump on Wednesday that called to postpone the president’s State of the Union speech due to the shutdown.
Read the full letter:
Today, I wrote to @realDonaldTrump recommending that we delay the State of the Union until after government re-opens, as the @SecretService, the lead federal agency for #SOTU security, faces its 26th day without funding. https://t.co/K2oL8WGvqo pic.twitter.com/g3fIlxDbbK
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) January 16, 2019
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters Thursday he was surprised the House speaker would leave the country during a shutdown.
“Why would she want to go overseas with the government shut down, with people missing their paychecks? And if we don’t get this back open, they can miss their paychecks again by next week,” he said. “So I think it’s appropriate that we would get back together, it would not take long, and we could solve this problem.”
Watch the video below:
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy reacts to President Trump withholding a military plan for Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s congressional trip: “Why would she want to go overseas with the government shutdown? … I couldn’t imagine she would even think about going” pic.twitter.com/zDnsi8wNPg
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) January 17, 2019
McCarthy seemingly forgot that Trump left the country during the shutdown. Just three days in, the president made a surprise visit to Iraq to meet with U.S. service members on Christmas.
Pelosi’s trip was to be of a similar nature. Drew Hammill, a spokesperson for Pelosi, released a statement explaining the reasoning behind the speaker’s trip and fact-checked Trump’s letter:
The Congressional Delegation to Afghanistan included a required stop in Brussels for pilot rest. In Brussels, the delegation was scheduled to meet with top NATO commanders, U.S. military leaders and key allies – to affirm the United States’ ironclad commitment to the NATO alliance. This weekend visit to Afghanistan did not include a stop in Egypt.
The purpose of the trip was to express appreciation and thanks to our men and women in uniform for their service and dedication, and to obtain critical national security and intelligence briefings from those on the front lines. The President traveled to Iraq during the Trump Shutdown as did a Republican CODEL led by Rep. Zeldin.
Other top politicians have left or are planning on leaving the country during the shutdown. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) arrived in Turkey on Thursday. In a Twitter thread, he called both Pelosi’s decision to call for the postponement of the State of the Union address and Trump’s decision to postpone her trip “inappropriate.”
President Trump denying Speaker Pelosi military travel to visit our troops in Afghanistan, our allies in Egypt and NATO is also inappropriate.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) January 17, 2019
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has a planned trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos. This trip is still happening under the shutdown, and Democrats were quick to criticize Trump for the hypocrisy.