Donald Trump has postponed Nancy Pelosi’s planned overseas trip as a result of the ongoing partial government shutdown.
The US President sent a letter to the House Speaker informing her he will postpone her seven-day trip to Brussels, Egypt and Afghanistan — presumably by not letting her use military aircraft as transport — based on the shutdown, which today enters its 27th day.
“Dear Madame Speaker,” the letter begins, “Due to the Shutdown, I am sorry to inform you that your trip to Brussels, Egypt, and Afghanistan has been postponed.”
He notes the week-long “excursion” will be rescheduled when the shutdown ends.
“In light of the 800,000 American workers not receiving pay, I am sure you agree that postponing this public relations event is totally appropriate,” he wrote. “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.”
However, he did not entirely bar the House Speaker from travelling.
“Obviously, if you would like to make your journey by flying commercial, that would certainly be your prerogative.”
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) January 17, 2019
Earlier in the week, Ms Pelosi sent a letter to Mr Trump urging him to postpone his State of the Union address until government has reopened.
“Sadly, given the security concerns and unless government re-opens this week, I suggest we work together to determine another suitable date after government has re-opened for this address or for you to consider delivering your State of the Union address in writing to the Congress on January 29,” she wrote.
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
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Mr Trump declined to address the stalemate over the speech on Thursday during a visit to the Pentagon, simply promising that the nation will have “powerful, strong border security”.
The uncertainty surrounding the annual address also underscored the unravelling of ceremonial norms and niceties in Mr Trump’s Washington, amid the shutdown over the President’s demand for money to build a US-Mexico border wall.
The impasse is draining the finances of hundreds of thousands of federal employees going without pay cheques.
Ms Pelosi reiterated she is more than willing to negotiate money for border security once the government is reopened, but she said Democrats remain opposed to Mr Trump’s long-promised wall, one of his signature campaign promises.
“I’m not for a wall,” she said twice, mouthing the statement a third time for effect.
Overnight, Mr Trump reiterated that Congress must grant the request for money to build a border wall.
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“The federal government remains shut down because congressional Democrats refuse to approve border security,” he said. “We are going to have powerful, strong border security.”
He also took aim at Ms Pelosi, accusing her of refusing to allow moderate Democrats to negotiate with him over the wall.
“The party has been hijacked by the open-borders fringe within the party,” he said. “The radical left becoming the radical Democrats. Hopefully, Democrat lawmakers (politicians) will step forward to do what is right for our country.”
A prolonged shutdown could eventually push the US into an economic contraction, The New York Times reported.
— with wires