Less than 24 hours after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked President Donald Trump to reconsider delivering his State of the Union on January 29, Trump retaliated by publicly revealing Pelosi’s top-secret overseas trip into a combat zone, effectively canceling the trip by refusing to let her use a military plane.
Less than an hour before Pelosi was set to leave, Trump wrote to Pelosi in a letter tweeted by White House press secretary Sarah Sanders Thursday afternoon that publicly disclosed details of her trip and informing her it had been officially postponed.
“In light of the 800,000 great American workers not receiving pay, I am sure that you would agree that postponing this public relations event is totally appropriate,” Trump’s letter says. “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. Obviously, if you would like to make your journey by flying commercial that would certainly be your prerogative.”
Members of Congress usually use Air Force One for these trips, reports The Week:
Air Force One still took off that afternoon, but it didn’t head overseas, Politico’s Jake Sherman and aircraft-watching CivMilAir tweeted. It was using code that typically means the first lady is onboard, and it was headed for Mar-a-Lago’s city of Palm Beach, Florida.
EXEC1F – #MelaniaForceOne climbing out from Joint Base Andrews
— CivMilAir ✈ (@CivMilAir) January 17, 2019
Politico’s Jake Sherman noted that EXEC1F, which is “typically the callsign for a plane with the first lady on it,” was headed to Palm Beach airport.
“EXEC1F appears to be headed to Palm Beach. ATC just said they will have to do some serious vectoring to get the plane in line with the rest of the Palm Beach traffic,” he tweeted.
I am listening to air traffic control
EXEC1F appears to be headed to Palm Beach. ATC just said they will have to do some serious vectoring to get the plane in line with the rest of the Palm Beach traffic.
EXEC1F is typically the callsign for a plane with the first lady on it.
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) January 17, 2019
Pelosi responded on Thursday by saying her codel was stopping in Brussels to meet with “top NATO commanders, U.S. military leaders and key allies.” She was also headed to Afghanistan to meet with troops and “obtain critical national security and intelligence briefings,” adding that a stop in Egypt was never part of the plan.
The canceled visit was known as a CODEL trip, which means details are kept secret until the plane lands safely.
Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House intelligence committee, called Trump’s decision to reveal Pelosi’s trip “completely and utterly irresponsible in every way.”
Schiff says Trump is acting “like he’s in the fifth grade.” The California Democrat said that “we’re determined our oversight will continue no matter what the president’s action are.” Schiff said the congressional delegations had anticipated defense and intelligence briefings in Afghanistan.
President Trump and first lady Melania Trump traveled to Iraq to visit U.S. troops on the day after Christmas, several days into the shutdown that is now in its fourth week.