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Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday canceled plans for a commercial flight to Afghanistan after the White House leaked the details of her planned trip, a spokesman said.
The cancellation comes one day after President Trump sent a letter to Pelosi canceling her planned congressional trip to Brussels and Afghanistan, which he dismissed as a “public relations event,” in an escalation of tensions between the two amid the ongoing partial government shutdown.
That move followed Pelosi’s suggestion that Trump’s annual State of the Union address be postponed until after the shutdown or else delivered in writing.
“After President Trump revoked the use of military aircraft to travel to Afghanistan, the delegation was prepared to fly commercially to proceed with this vital trip to meet with our commanders and troops on the front lines,” Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, said in a statement.
“In the middle of the night, the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service provided an updated threat assessment detailing that the President announcing this sensitive travel had significantly increased the danger to the delegation and to the troops, security, and other officials supporting the trip. This morning, we learned that the Administration had leaked the commercial travel plans as well.”
Mimicking the language used in Pelosi’s letter to Trump regarding the State of the Union, Trump told her that the congressional delegation’s trip would be rescheduled until the government reopened just moments before lawmakers were slated to leave on a bus to Joint Base Andrews for their trip to meet with top NATO commanders in Brussels and visit troops in Afghanistan.
The president suggested Pelosi could opt to fly commercial in lieu of military-provided transportation to the war zone.
“We will reschedule this seven-day excursion when the shutdown is over,” 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.”
Hammill said due to the security threats presented by the leak, the trip will be rescheduled for a later date.
“In light of the grave threats caused by the President’s action, the delegation has decided to postpone the trip so as not to further endanger our troops and security personnel, or the other travelers on the flights,” he said.
The feud between Pelosi and Trump is intensifying as the partial government shutdown approaches the one-month mark.
Negotiations over Trump’s border wall remain stalled with both sides digging in on their respective positions. Democrats have vowed not to support any legislation that provides funding for Trump’s border wall. Trump said he will not sign any spending legislation that doesn’t appropriate funds toward a barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border.