House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that “it was very irresponsible on the part of the president” to announce that she and a co-delegation (codel) of representatives were intending on traveling to Brussels and Afghanistan and to ground her trip by forbidding the use of government transportation for her travel.
Pelosi told reporters that the purpose of the trip was to visit active U.S. troops in Afghanistan in what would have been her ninth trip to the country. Members of Congress were on the bus to begin their trip when the president canceled it. Pelosi said that the codel then planned to travel commercially, but the leak of the details of the trip had created a security risk.
“We weren’t going to go because we had a report from Afghanistan that the president outing our trip had made the scene on the ground much more dangerous because it’s just a signal to the bad actors that we’re coming. You never give advance notice of going into a battle area. You just never do,” Pelosi said. She added that the State Department had told the codel that the president’s statement “had made it dangerous.”
Pelosi said that she hoped that the president’s decision was not in retaliation to her Wednesday letter requesting him to postpone the State of the Union at the end of the month.
“I would hope not. I don’t think the president would be that petty, do you?” Pelosi said, adding that she hoped this would not hamper negotiations to reopen the government.
The Office of Management and Budget announced Friday that all congressional travel using government aircraft is prohibited until the government reopens.