WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump sent a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Jan. 17, telling her that her upcoming “seven-day excursion” to Brussels, Egypt, and Afghanistan has been postponed until after the government shutdown is over.
“I’m sure you would agree that postponing this public relations event is totally appropriate,” Trump 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.”
According to various online videos and reports, Pelosi and her contingent were heading to the airport for takeoff when the letter was issued.
Trump’s letter comes a day after Pelosi suggested the president delay his State of the Union address, set for Jan. 29, until the shutdown is over.
Pelosi sent a letter to Trump on Jan. 16, saying: “Sadly, given the security concerns and unless government re-opens this week, I suggest that 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.”
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
Pelosi also suggested Secret Service would be unable to provide adequate security if the State of the Union were to be held while the shutdown continued.
However, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen responded by saying the Department of Homeland Security and the Secret Service are “fully prepared to support and secure the State of the Union.”
The Department of Homeland Security and the US Secret Service are fully prepared to support and secure the State of the Union. We thank the Service for their mission focus and dedication and for all they do each day to secure our homeland.
— Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen (@SecNielsen) January 16, 2019
As Commander-in-Chief, Trump can ground any Department of Defense aircraft, which is how Pelosi had been planning to fly.
“Obviously, if you would like to make your journey by flying commercial, that would certainly be your prerogative,” Trump said.
At a press conference earlier on Jan. 17, Pelosi was asked what she would do if the government shutdown was ongoing and Trump wanted to stick to the Jan. 29 State of the Union.
“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” she responded.
Democrats have refused to appropriate the $5.7 billion in border wall funding that Trump is asking for, saying more fencing along the border would be expensive and ineffective.
In fiscal 2018, almost 400,000 people were apprehended by Border Patrol after crossing the southwest border illegally.