President Donald Trump’s conflict with Democrats over a partial U.S. government shutdown has escalated with Trump denying House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi the use of military aircraft for an overseas trip.
The move by Trump is in apparent retaliation for Pelosi’s suggestion that he should delay the annual State of the Union address scheduled for the Capitol or he sends in his address in writing.
Pelosi had been scheduled to travel on a military aircraft as part of a congressional delegation to Belgium, where NATO is based, and Afghanistan to visit American troops stationed there.
In a letter to Pelosi denying her delegation the use of a plane, President Trump called the trip an “excursion.”
“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,” he wrote. He told Pelosi she could make the trip by flying commercial.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump had acted within his authority as commander in chief. “He postponed her ability to use military air, which must be approved” by the Department of Defense, Sanders said.