House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused President Donald Trump on Friday of putting her and fellow lawmakers in danger by publicizing their travel plans to Afghanistan, forcing them to abandon the trip, a breathtaking allegation against the commander in chief as their feud escalated and the government shutdown dragged on.
Pelosi said the State Department had determined that the trip could no longer be made without endangering the safety of lawmakers, as well as of troops and support personnel. The accusation came a day after Trump had denied Pelosi the use of military aircraft, forcing her to make plans to fly commercial to Afghanistan – before she abandoned that plan, too, accusing the administration of leaking word of it.
“You never give advance notice of going into a battle area – you just never do it,” Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters at the Capitol. “Perhaps the president’s inexperience didn’t have him understand that protocol. The people around him, though, should have known that, because that’s very dangerous.”
The White House forcefully denied Pelosi’s claims.
The bickering between Trump and Pelosi has emerged as a proxy battle in the record-breaking partial government shutdown, which entered its 28th day Friday with no signs of any negotiations. The result has been a political clash like few others, as the leaders of two of the nation’s three branches of government leverage the powers of their office against one another, all the while trying to shape public sentiment.
“I think it was irresponsible for Nancy Pelosi to cancel the State of the Union, and then I think it was wrong for the president to cancel the plane,” said Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio. “I think they’re both making it more difficult, not easier, for us to find a resolution to this impasse.”
Pelosi wrote Trump a letter earlier this week suggesting he reschedule his Jan. 29 State of the Union address over security concerns stemming from the nearly month-long partial government shutdown.
The furloughed workers and those forced to work without pay will soon miss another paycheck unless the shutdown is somehow resolved, a fact that White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Friday made it imperative for Pelosi to stay in the country this weekend.
“That’s one of the key reasons that the president did not want Speaker Pelosi to leave the country, is because if she did it would all but guarantee the fact that negotiations couldn’t take place over the weekend,” Sanders told reporters at the White House.
(c) 2019, The Washington Post · Erica Werner