Nancy Pelosi’s Afghanistan Trip Was Canceled Over Security Risks She Says Trump Caused
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office announced Friday that her congressional delegations' trip to Afghanistan won't take place at this time, alleging the Trump administration had put the delegation at risk. But it reportedly wasn't President Trump's refusal to allow Pelosi the use of a military plane that derailed her travel plans. In the latest episode of Trump's ongoing dispute with Pelosi, a spokesperson for the House speaker alleged the Trump administration leaked Pelosi's plans to travel commercially, endangering not only the lives of everyone in the delegation, but security personnel and troops as well.
"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 deputy Chief of Staff Drew Hammill said in a tweeted statement. The White House has denied this allegation,
Hammill said that although Trump had grounded the military plane Pelosi planed to use to visit active-duty troops in Afghanistan, the congressional delegation had opted to travel commercially in order to follow through with what they called a "vital trip."
"In the middle of the night, State Dept's Diplomatic Security Service provided an updated threat assessment detailing that the President announcing this sensitive travel had significantly increased danger to the delegation & to troops, security, & other officials supporting trip," Hammill said Friday. "This morning, we learned that the Administration had leaked the commercial travel plans as well."
In a statement obtained by Reuters' Jeff Mason, however, a White House official pushed back on Hammill's claim. "The idea we would leak anything that would put the safety and security of any American at risk is an offensive flat out lie," Mason quoted the official as having said. "When the Speaker of the House and about 20 others from Capitol Hill decide to book their own commercial flights to Afghanistan, the world is going to find out." Bustle has reached out to the White House for additional comment.
In a statement to reporters Friday, Pelosi claimed that the Trump administration's decision to leak the delegations commercial traveling plans "made the scene on the ground much more dangerous," The Washington Post reported. The House speaker alleged that the leak served as "a signal to the bad actors that we were coming."
"You never give advance notice of going into a battle area — you just never do it," The Washington Post reported Pelosi said. "Perhaps the president's inexperience didn't have him understand that protocol. The people around him, though, should have known that, because that's very dangerous."
However, according to The Washington Post, Pelosi refrained from commenting Friday when asked how her office knew it had been the Trump administration that had leaked her commercial travel plans. Rather, the House speaker shrugged and said only, "I rest my case," the paper reported.
On Friday, the president appeared to sarcastically mull over Pelosi's travel plans on social media. "Why would Nancy Pelosi leave the Country with other Democrats on a seven day excursion when 800,000 great people are not getting paid," he asked on Twitter.
But while Trump had previously rejected Pelosi's use of a military plane during the government shutdown, First Lady Melania Trump was reported to have taken a government plane to Mar-a-Lago on Thursday.