On Thursday, President Donald Trump informed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that he was canceling her access to military transportation for a weeklong diplomatic trip abroad in retaliation for her request to postpone his State of the Union address until the government shutdown ends.
But Trump did not stop there in meddling with Pelosi’s plans: he also leaked her alternate plans to fly commercially to Afghanistan, forcing the trip to be abandoned due to security concerns.
“After President Trump revoked the use of military aircraft to travel to Afghanistan, the delegation was prepared to fly commercially to proceed with this vital trip to meet with our commanders and troops on the front lines,” [Pelosi’s Deputy Chief of Staff Drew Hammill] wrote.
But that plan hit its first snag late Thursday night, Hammill said, when the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service gave Pelosi’s team an updated threat assessment. The assessment said that “the President announcing this sensitive travel had significantly increased danger to the delegation & to troops, security, & other officials supporting trip,” he wrote.
Things got worse Friday morning, Hammill continued. “This morning, we learned that the Administration had leaked the commercial travel plans as well,” he said, adding that “In light of the grave threats caused by the President’s action, the delegation has decided to postpone the trip so as not to further endanger our troops and security personnel, or the other travelers on the flights.”
Pelosi’s office said the State Department pays for all flights, including commercial, which is how the administration would have known about her alternative plans.
That the plans were leaked was discovered by Pelosi’s office when it was approached by reporters citing numerous administration officials who were asking about the arrangements, The Daily Beast said.
As The Daily Beast previously reported, Trump’s decision to tank Pelosi’s trip holds serious diplomatic consequences. The speaker intended to stop in Brussels to reassert the United States’ commitment to NATO, which President Trump has criticized vociferously. She also planned to speak with troops in Afghanistan, to assuage concerns about Trump’s controversial decision to withdraw troops from Syria and stave off declining morale.