Steve has posted President Trump’s letter to Speaker Pelosi advising her that that a congressional delegation trip she intended to take to Brussels, Egypt and Afghanistan is now “postponed.” The letter is a masterpiece. It’s vastly preferable to a tweet blasting Pelosi and calling her names, which is how I expected Trump to respond to Pelosi’s talk about postponing the State of the Union Address.
It’s appalling that Pelosi didn’t herself postpone the “seven-day excursion,” as Trump labels it. What sense does it make for one of the two principals in the shutdown showdown to be out of the country for an extended period of time while the federal government remains partially closed?
Trump has already cancelled a trip he was scheduled to make to Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum. That trip was far more consequential than Pelosi’s “fact finding” mission. Pelosi has little role to play in U.S. foreign policy (and no positive one, as her craven visit to Bashar al-Assad in Syria years ago demonstrated).
Trump’s statement that it is “totally appropriate” to postpone Pelosi’s trip “in light of the 800,000 great American workers not receiving pay” seems difficult to dispute. I think most Americans will agree with it, though many will be disgusted at what can be viewed as a tit-for-tat — Pelosi threatens the State of the Union Address; Trump postpones her travel.
Trump couldn’t resist sticking the knife in by characterizing Pelosi’s trip as “a public relations event.” This gives Pelosi the opportunity to dispute the characterization, instead of explaining why she was about to to leave the country for a week while the government is partially shut down.
But the master strokes in Trump’s letter outweigh the overreach. I particularly enjoyed the last two sentences:
Obviously, if you would like to make your journey by flying commercial, that would certainly be your prerogative.
I look forward to seeing you soon and even more forward to watching our open and dangerous Southern Border finally receive the attention, funding, and security it so desperately deserves!
This wasn’t a Trump tweet, but you knew there still had to be at least one exclamation point.
UPDATE: Trump has now canceled the U.S. delegation’s upcoming trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos. Previously, as noted above, he had canceled his own visit.
I don’t think it was necessary for Trump to cancel the delegation’s participation. The presence of the delegates in Washington won’t contribute to breaking the impasse that has produced the partial shutdown.
At the same time, their presence in Switzerland at the Davos gabfest wouldn’t have contributed much to anything, either.