President Donald Trump on Thursday told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a letter that he was postponing her scheduled trip to Egypt, Brussels and Afghanistan because of the ongoing government shutdown.
Trump’s action came just a day after Pelosi urged him to reschedule his upcoming State of the Union address to Congress or deliver it in writing. In a letter to Trump, Pelosi had cited potential security concerns related to the shutdown.
All congressional delegations have been grounded until after the shutdown is over, a White House official told the American Bulletin after Trump’s letter to Pelosi was released. It was reported that Trump halted the planned trips because they would require the use of federally funded military aircraft.
“If she had gone on this trip she would have guaranteed that 800,000 federal workers would not receive their second paycheck because she would not have been here to negotiate any kind of deal,” a White House official said.
“We will reschedule this seven-day excursion when the Shutdown is over,” Trump wrote to Pelosi.
“Obviously, if you would like to make your journey by flying commercial, that would certainly be your prerogative,” Trump added.
The dueling letters come amid the nearly four-week-long partial shutdown of the federal government over border security disputes between the president and Democratic lawmakers.
White House officials, who declined to be named, denied that Trump’s move was in retaliation against Pelosi. They said Trump was denying Pelosi’s military travel so negotiations over the president’s proposed border wall can continue.
It was not immediately clear when Pelosi’s trip was scheduled to occur. A representative for Pelosi’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Trump’s letter, which was released in a tweet by press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.