President Donald Trump is going tit-for-tat with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in their public fight about the partial government shutdown: She suggested that the president postpone his State of the Union address until the government reopens — so he canceled her travel plans.
Pelosi said Trump hasn’t directly responded to her request yet, but Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted a pretty clear answer on Thursday: a letter signed by the president to Pelosi which said he'd be postponing her upcoming trips to Egypt, Belgium, and Afghanistan. Major political leaders are usually allowed to use military transport for travel, but Trump noted that buying a commercial flight would “certainly be [Pelosi’s] prerogative.”
“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,” Trump wrote.
Even if Pelosi wanted to take the trip on her own dime, Trump may have blown up her spot. Trips taken by Congress — including their locations — are usually kept secret for security purposes, reporters have noted.
In a series of tweets, Pelosi's chief of staff responded to the letter. "The President traveled to Iraq during the Trump Shutdown as did a Republican CODEL led by Rep. Zeldin," he wrote.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer also called Trump’s move “unworthy of the president of the United States.”
Trump has repeatedly tried to blame Democrats for the shutdown — now in its 27th day — even though the Democrat-controlled House has already voted for packages to reopen the government six times and put nearly 800,000 federal workers back on the payroll. But the Senate won’t take up those bills because Republicans known Trump won’t budge on his demand for a $5.6 billion border wall.
Trump’s already-minimal popularity, even with his core voting base, is taking a hit because of the shutdown, according to a new NPR poll. White evangelical support for Trump, one of his strongest support groups, slipped 13 points, according to the poll.
Cover image: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., meets with furloughed federal workers at an event to discuss the impact on families from the partial government shutdown and President Donald Trump's demands for funding a U.S.-Mexico border wall, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)