Feud intensifies as Donald Trump cancels Nancy Pelosi’s trip

US president grounds military aircraft, stopping Congressional visit to troops

US lawmakers left waiting on a bus after Trump cancels delegation to Afghanistan
(Image credit: ELODIE CUZIN/AFP/Getty Images)

In an apparent tit-for-tat move against Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Donald Trump has abruptly halted a congressional delegation’s secret trip to visit US troops in Afghanistan.

Trump reportedly grounded the military aircraft that was to have taken Pelosi and several other US lawmakers to Afghanistan, with a stopover in Brussels to meet US Nato allies, less than an hour before it was due to depart.

Several members of the delegation due to travel with Pelosi to Afghanistan were already aboard an Air Force bus, waiting to be driven to Andrews Air Force base for the flight, when news of the cancellation came through.

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“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,” Trump wrote in a letter to Pelosi, explaining why he was cancelling the trip.

“Trump himself visited Iraq after the partial government shutdown began on 22 December, raising questions about his stated rationale for blocking Pelosi’s travel,” the Washington Post says.

Meanwhile, the New York Post reports that “First Lady Melania Trump was winging her way to Mar-a-Lago — on a government jet”.

Trump’s decision to kill Pelosi’s trip was a “remarkable bit of one-upmanship in an increasingly bitter government shutdown drama”, The New York Times says.

Pelosi had written to Trump earlier this week to suggest that he either postpone his 29 January State of the Union address, or simply provide the text in writing, citing security concerns because of the shutdown.

Following the cancellation of the congressional delegation’s flight, CNN reports that “Democrats responded angrily”, releasing a series of statements that were highly critical of Trump.

“All too often in the last two years, the president has acted like he’s in the fifth grade. And to have someone who has that kind of character running the country is an enormous problem at every level," said House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff.

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