Something's boiling over on Capitol Hill, and it's got some major playground vibes. A day after Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi asked President Donald Trump to delay his Jan. 29 State of the Union address due to the ongoing government shutdown, the president shot back with a letter of his own. If you think that world leaders can't be petty, then you clearly haven't seen Donald Trump's letter cancelling Pelosi's trip abroad, because it's peak petty. Elite Daily reached out to both the White House and a representative of Pelosi for further comment, but did not immediately hear back.
On Thursday, the president sent a letter to Pelosi informing her that her scheduled trip abroad to Brussels, Egypt, and Afghanistan "has been postponed" due to the government shut down. The trip had not previously been publicized due to security reasons, according to CBS News journalist Steven Portnoy. Pelosi was reportedly scheduled to fly on military planes, giving Trump the authority to cancel the trip. The country is in an ongoing partial government shutdown that began on Dec. 22 when Trump wasn't able to secure the $5.7 billion in funds for his border security proposal — which includes a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. The president said that given the shutdown and the "800,000 great American workers not receiving pay," Pelosi should be postponing her "public relations event" in order to stay in the United States and negotiate to end the shutdown. In a letter tweeted out by White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, he wrote,
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. 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.
In a series of tweets, Pelosi's spokesperson Drew Hammill countered Trump's assertion that the trip is a "public relations event," but instead, meant to further military and international interests. On Jan. 17, Hammill tweeted out that Pelosi's trip is to Afghanistan to reinforce support for the troops and to gain national security information "from those on the front line." However the pilot is required to stop in Brussels, so Pelosi is using the time to meet with "top NATO commanders, U.S. military leaders and key allies–to affirm the United States’ ironclad commitment to the NATO alliance." The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is a military alliance between 29 North American and European countries that was signed in 1949. Hammill also clarified that, despite what Trump's letter said, Pelosi's trip didn't include a stop in Egypt.
Trump's letter to Pelosi comes a day after the speaker wrote a letter of her own to the president on Jan. 16. Pelosi, in her letter, told the president that unless the government shutdown ends this week, they should find another day for him to deliver his SOTU address over security concerns. Alternatively, Pelosi offered Trump the option of handing in his SOTU in writing, as previous presidents have sometimes done, to Congress on Jan. 29 — the original scheduled date. Elite Daily reached out to the White House regarding whether the president will delay the address, but did not immediately hear back. The U.S. Secret Service referred questions to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which did not immediately return Elite Daily's requests for comment. Pelosi wrote in her letter,
The extraordinary demands presented by NSSEs [National Special Security Events] require weeks of detailed planning with dozens of agencies working together to prepare for the safety of all participants. ... 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 to the Congress on January 29th.
Negotiations to end the shutdown have been ongoing even since before the shutdown began, with Trump and Democrats meeting on multiple occasions, to little result. On Jan. 9, Trump held a meeting in the situation room with Pelosi and Schumer that ended in him storming out of the room when Pelosi said she wouldn't provide any funding for a border wall even if the shutdown ends. Not only did Trump storm out, but before he left, according to Schumer, Trump "[slammed] the table" and threw a "temper tantrum," according to The Hill." Again, we saw a temper tantrum because he couldn't get his way and he just walked out of the meeting," Schumer told reporters outside the West Wing following the meeting. In a tweet, Trump denied the claims of a tantrum. Elite Daily reached out to the White House for comment on Schumer's claim, but did not hear back.
It's obvious both sides can write letters, but can they re-open the government? Here's hoping.