Instead of responding directly to her request that the event be delayed because of security funding concerns, Trump wrote in an apparent retaliation that he had canceled her upcoming delegation trip to Brussels, Egypt and Afghanistan (though Pelosi’s team later said there was no scheduled stop in Egypt).
“Obviously if you would like to make your journey by flying commercial, that would certainly be your prerogative,” the president wrote. The suggestion comes despite the fact that the Air Force budget has not been affected by the 27-day shutdown.
CBS and Fox News both reported that Trump’s letter canceling her trip was issued about an hour before Pelosi was set to depart.
As noted by Politico’s Capitol Hill bureau chief, John Bresnahan, Trump’s public letter exposed a trip that had been a “closely held secret due to security concerns” for Pelosi.
In a response to Trump, Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, debased the president’s claim that the trip was a mere “public relations event.”
“In Brussels, the delegation was scheduled to meet with top NATO commanders, U.S. military leaders and key allies–to affirm the United States’ ironclad commitment to the NATO alliance,” he tweeted. In Afghanistan, he added, she intended to “obtain critical national security intelligence briefings from those on the front lines” and thank them for their service.
The speaker, who by tradition invites the president to give the annual address to a joint session of Congress, had asked Trump in a letter Wednesday to reschedule the planned Jan. 29 appearance unless the shutdown ends.
She cited security concerns caused by the shutdown, which has forced the U.S. Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security to furlough some workers and require others to work without pay.
DHS considers the State of the Union to be a “national special security event” requiring “some of the most complex and logistically complicated protective operations undertaken by the Secret Service, often requiring anywhere from 3 to 18 months of planning.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) joined in on the kerfuffle Thursday, too. Though he said in a statement that Pelosi’s request was “very irresponsible and blatantly political,” he condemned Trump canceling her trip as “also inappropriate.”
This story has been updated with more context and comments from Hammill and Graham.
IRS worker Christine Helquist joins a federal workers protest rally outside the Federal Building, Thursday, Jan., 10, 2019, in Ogden, Utah. Payday will come Friday without any checks for about 800,000 federal employees affected by the government shutdown, forcing workers to scale back spending, cancel trips, apply for unemployment benefits and take out loans to stay afloat. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
IRS worker Angela Gran, center, and others participate in a federal workers protest rally outside the Federal Building, Thursday, Jan., 10, 2019, in Ogden, Utah. Payday will come Friday without any checks for about 800,000 federal employees affected by the government shutdown, forcing workers to scale back spending, cancel trips, apply for unemployment benefits and take out loans to stay afloat. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Furloughed National Park Service ranger Kathryn Gilson, center, listens as fellow furloughed ranger Sean Ghazala, left, speaks to the media, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, during a press conference and rally at Staten Island’s La Colmena Center in New York. Ghazala is based at Manhattan’s African Burial Ground, and Gilson works at Gateway National Recreation Area, a national park encompassing wetlands surrounding New York city and parts of New Jersey’s coastline. Gilson says she is home “bouncing off the walls” and worrying about paying her bills and student loan. Staten Island is a largely Republican borough of New York city, but Democrat Max Rose recently defeated his Republican opponent in the 2018 congressional elections. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.