United States President Donald Trump on Thursday blocked the use of a military plane by the House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi for a trip to Brussels, Egypt and Afghanistan, Reuters reported. He called it a “public relations” trip and asked her to instead negotiate ending the partial government shutdown with him.
Trump’s move came a day after Pelosi, a Democratic Party leader, urged him to reschedule his annual State of the Union address slated for January 29, The Hill reported. Pelosi had cited security concerns due to the government shutdown, which entered its 27th day on Thursday.
“We will reschedule this seven-day excursion when the shutdown is over,” Trump wrote in a letter to Pelosi. “I also feel that, during this period, it would be better if you [Pelosi] were in Washington negotiating with me and joining the Strong Border Security movement to end the shutdown.”
Pelosi’s spokesperson Drew Hammill tweeted that a Congressional delegation, including Pelosi, had planned to visit the US troops in Afghanistan, with a required stop in Brussels for the pilot to rest. In Brussels, the delegation was scheduled to meet key allies and leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Hammill said the trip to Afghanistan was to “obtain critical national security [and] intelligence briefings from those on the front lines”. It did not include a stop in Egypt, Hammill said.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump “postponed her [Pelosi’s] ability to use military air, which must be approved” by the Department of Defense. “As he made clear in the letter she can still go but must do so commercially,” she said.
Later on Thursday, the White House announced it would not send a US delegation to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland later this month, due to the partial shutdown, according to BBC.
Trump had announced earlier this month that he would not attend the summit and instead a delegation led by the treasury secretary would take part in the forum.
“Out of consideration for the 8,00,000 great American workers not receiving pay and to ensure his team can assist as needed, President Trump has cancelled his delegation’s trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland,” Sanders said in a statement.
The federal government had shut down partially on December 22 after Democrats refused to allocate $5.7 billion funding sought by Trump to build a wall along the border of Mexico. Earlier this month, the House passed legislative measures to reopen the government, but Trump threatened to veto it and the Republican-controlled Senate decided not to approve the measures. This has become the longest government shutdown in the US’ history.