As the News Blender reported on Wednesday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) sent a letter to President Trump requesting that while the government remains partially closed that he delay his State of the Union scheduled for January 29th, 2019, or if he was inclined he could deliver the State of the Union in writing to Congress as was done in past administrations.
On Thursday almost twenty-four hours later, President Trump broke his silence sending a letter of his own, first made public by his Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, via Twitter.
The Full Text of the Letter:
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Madame Speaker:
Due to the Shutdown, I am sorry to inform you that your trip to Brussels, Egypt, and Afghanistan has been postponed. We will reschedule this seven-day excursion when the Shutdown is over. 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. 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. Obviously, if you would like to make your journey by flying commercial, that would certainly be your prerogative.
I look forward to seeing you soon and even more forward to watching our open and dangerous Southern Border finally receive the attention, funding, and security it so desperately deserves!
Donald J. TrumpLetter from President Trump to Speaker Pelosi White House.gov
The Washington Post explains that Pelosi’s trip abroad had not be disclosed until the President made the trip publicly known via the letter. According to the article she’d been planning to leave on Thursday.
The article also notes that it is unclear under what authority President Trump has to cancel plans, but “it would probably require the use of military aircraft controlled by his administration. He said Pelosi could fly commercial if she chose.”
Pelosi’s Deputy Chief of Staff Drew Hammill, via Twitter, explained the trip that President Trump calls in his letter a “seven-day excursion,” did not include a stop in Egypt, that the Brussels stop was for pilot rest, in which Pelosi and the delegation were planning to meet with top NATO commanders and that her meeting in Afghanistan was to obtain “critical national security,” details along with meeting with troops to thank them for their service.
President Trump still has not addressed the request of postponing the State of the Union.
For what it’s worth: The House has passed several funding measures that would re-open the partially shutdown government agencies, however, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has blocked attempts for the Senate to vote on any of them. As The Hill reported on Tuesday McConnell called the House votes, “Show votes.” The article notes that McConnell has said he will not bring “legislation to the floor on the shutdown unless there was deal between President Trump and Democrats.”
In two tweets Judiciary Chairman Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) expressed his disappointment in both Pelosi’s behavior and President Trump’s response.
CNN’s Jake Tapper notes that by President Trump disclosing the travel plans of the delegation aboard he has broken security protocol.
3/ A White House official told CNN that Pelosi and the delegation are welcome to fly *commercial* to Afghanistan. Which is a remarkable statement given that the WH just announced this trip to the world, a violation of all security protocols.— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) January 17, 2019