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Thread: Trump strikes back at Pelosi after a day of silence

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  1. #1
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    May 2005
    Heart of Dixie

    Trump strikes back at Pelosi after a day of silence

    Trump strikes back at Pelosi after a day of silence

    The president abruptly yanks Pelosi's international trip after she pulled a power play by postponing his SOTU address.


    01/17/2019 12:09 PM EST
    Updated 01/17/2019 03:45 PM EST

    President Donald Trump hit back at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday, canceling a planned congressional trip to Afghanistan because of the government shutdown.

    The remarkable counter-punch came in the form of a terse letter to Pelosi blasted out to reporters and promoted by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Twitter. It marked the president's first public response to Pelosi's Wednesday morning request to postpone the annual State of the Union address at the end of the month, citing security concerns stemming from the lengthy shutdown.

    "Due to the Shutdown, I am sorry to inform you that your trip to Brussels, Egypt, and Afghanistan has been postponed," Trump wrote. "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."

    The president also called on Pelosi to remain in Washington during the shutdown, adding that she is welcome to make the trips abroad on commercial flights.

    The speaker’s office was unaware that the letter was coming, which the White House blasted out shortly after 2 p.m. A person familiar with the situation said Pelosi and her cohorts were supposed to leave at 3 p.m. for a six-day trip.

    It took more then 24 hours for the White House, which was similarly completely caught off guard by Pelosi's letter, to formally respond to the letter. Senior aides had initially made a strategic decision to hold off on responding, according to people familiar with the matter.

    A White House official said Trump decided to hit back "on his terms and timeline." Defending the decision to wait more than a day to respond, the official said, "Why does it merit an immediate or serious response? It's her suggestion."

    Another White House official said Trump had canceled all congressional delegations — often dubbed "codels" — because of the shutdown, blocking members’ use of military aircraft.

    The official said the reason for canceling the trips was to ensure that Pelosi remained in Washington to continue negotiations on the shutdown.

    In halting Pelosi's travel, Trump revealed an itinerary that was known to very few people before Thursday due to security concerns.

    Even Pelosi's decision to reveal that she was going to Brussels had angered Democrats, who worried it would result in the Afghanistan trip leaking. Pelosi's deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, said on Twitter that the Brussels stop was required for pilot rest and that her group had planned to meet with top NATO commanders there "to affirm the United States’ ironclad commitment to the NATO alliance."

    He added that the group was not planning to make a stop in Egypt on the trip.

    "The purpose of the trip was to express appreciation & thanks to our men & women in uniform for their service & dedication," Hammill tweeted.

    The White House official referred questions about whether the administration had breached protocol or threatened Pelosi’s security by publicly revealing her trip to Afghanistan to the Defense Department.

    The move also raised questions about whether the president would still send top staffers to the Davos economic forum later this month. The White House official said the delegation — comprising several Cabinet heads — is still scheduled to make the trip.

    Trump previously made a surprise shutdown visit to Iraq around Christmas, just days after the government initially partially closed over the border wall funding squabble. Hammill also noted that a Republican codel led by Rep. Lee Zeldin led a delegation to several Middle East countries shortly before the new year.

    The unexpected letter was not met with universal praise from Trump's party. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a key Trump ally who chairs the Judiciary Committee, expressed exasperation on Twitter.

    "One sophomoric response does not deserve another," he wrote. "Speaker Pelosi’s threat to cancel the State of the Union is very irresponsible and blatantly political. President Trump denying Speaker Pelosi military travel to visit our troops in Afghanistan, our allies in Egypt and NATO is also inappropriate."

    In Afghanistan, government staffers were not necessarily thrilled about the pending trip, according to a person familiar with the planning process.

    “A lot of people here were very pissed off about this trip,” the person told POLITICO. “Foreign Service Officers have been working overtime for two weeks on this trip for no pay, and [Pelosi] was set to arrive on a holiday weekend. And after the letter she wrote to the White House yesterday it seemed like hypocrisy.”

    The codel would have included seven Democrats, according to the person. In addition to Pelosi, three House chairmen were set to join: Rep. Adam Schiff, who leads the intelligence panel, Rep. Eliot Engel, who heads foreign affairs, and Rep. Mark Takano, who runs the veterans' affairs panel.

    Before Thursday afternoon, the only formal response from the administration came in a Wednesday tweet from Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who insisted that her department and the U.S. Secret Service are "fully prepared to support and secure" the annual event, which brings together the highest-ranking officials from all three branches of government.

    Privately, administration officials insist that Pelosi's contention that the now-27-day-long partial government shutdown complicates efforts to secure the event is overblown. Officials noted that many Secret Service agents and senior DHS staffers are still on the job, working without pay.

    They believe the House speaker overreached in calling for the speech to either be delayed or delivered in writing, and they are confident they have the support of Republicans in Congress to continue on with the State of the Union speech.

    As of Thursday morning, it remained unclear how Trump and Pelosi might resolve the standoff. Although her letter technically framed the call for a delay as a request, not a demand, Pelosi has the final say on whether the speech can take place. Pelosi told reporters earlier Thursday that she had not heard anything from the White House, and added that Jan. 29 — when the speech had been scheduled — “is not a sacred date.”

    “It’s not constitutionally required. It’s not a president’s birthday. It is a date we agreed to,” Pelosi said. “It could be a week later if government is opened. But it isn’t as if that date is sacred. It’s one that was negotiated.”

    The California Democrat wouldn't comment on what she’d do if Trump rejected her request to reschedule the address. “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” Pelosi said.

    She then chided Trump for staying quiet on the issue, pointing out how unusual it is for a president who regularly lashes out at political opponents on Twitter.

    “It’s very silent,” Pelosi said.

    The State of the Union uncertainty comes amid a shutdown that shows no sign of ending. Trump has vacillated between worrying about the political fallout from the crisis, now the longest in history, and doubling down on his insistence for more than $5 billion in wall funding. Efforts to strike a bipartisan compromise have largely fizzled and there are no ongoing discussions between the White House and congressional Democratic leaders.

    Until he sent his Thursday letter, Trump had been uncharacteristically quiet in response to Pelosi's letter. He hadn't said anything about it publicly, even on Twitter, where he often spouts off about everything from his frustrations with world leaders to his opinions about cable news.

    During a speech at the Pentagon on Thursday, he glossed over the State of the Union showdown, instead reiterating his demand for money for his border wall. "We need strong borders. We need strong barriers and walls," he said. "Nothing else is going to work. Everybody knows it.”

    He also used the speech to criticize Pelosi by name for, in his view, preventing moderate Democrats from striking a deal. But he didn't mention her State of the Union power play. "While many Democrats in the House and Senate would like to make a deal, Speaker Pelosi will not let them negotiate," he said.

    A handful of Republicans have floated the idea of inviting Trump to hold the State of the Union address in the Senate, though GOP members have generally dismissed the idea.

    Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) both suggested that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell invite the president to deliver the annual address, with Brooks circulating a letter that so far has collected 10 cosponsors.

    On Twitter earlier Thursday, Trump struck a similar tone, bashing Democrats while ignoring Pelosi's letter.

    "The Left has become totally unhinged. They no longer care what is Right for our Countrty!" he wrote on Twitter, misspelling the word "country."

    The White House official said the administration has not made any decision yet on the location of the State of the Union address.
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  2. #2
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    The Democrats going on a Congressional junket during a shutdown! Say it isn't so. If history is any teacher, we probably couldn't have afforded the jet fuel, liquor bills, fancy hotels and food for this crowd especially since government workers are not being paid.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Beezer's Avatar
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    She should take her private aircraft and go anyway!!!

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