WASHINGTON (CN) – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will postpone her trip to Afghanistan following the Trump administration’s leak of her travel plans, a spokesman for the speaker said Friday.
“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 tweeted this morning.
Hammill took to Twitter after receiving an updated threat-assessment report today from the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service. He said it was determined that the president’s response had “significantly increased the danger to the delegation and to the troops, security and other officials supporting the trip.”
“This morning, we learned that the administration had leaked the commercial travel plans as well,” Hammill wrote. “In light of the grave threats caused by the president’s actions, 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 flight.”
The White House did not immediately return request for comment, but Reuters quoted a White House official as flatly rejecting the claim that the administration leaked information about Pelosi’s flight plans.
“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,” the official said Friday. The idea we would leak anything that would put the safety and security of any American at risk is a flat-out lie.”
Hammill rejected the claim by the official.
“Multiple admin sources were telling Hill reporters early this morning that the Speaker Pelosi delegation was flying commercially,” Hammill tweeted.
Before landing in Afghanistan, Pelosi’s delegation planned to stop in Brussels to meet with NATO allies and other military officials. The jaunt would last less than one week.
Media outlets did not publish Pelosi’s travel plans but the trip was meant to be kept tightly under wraps nonetheless.
Keeping mum on itinerary is in line with standard security protocol for sensitive travel. Pelosi’s voyage was to be kept secret much like the trip President Trump made to visit U.S. troops in Iraq this December.
The tense exchange between Pelosi and the president comes as the government shutdown hits its 28th day in effect.
The president has refused to negotiate with Democrats on his demand for more than $5 billion to build a wall on the southern border.
Making his plea for the funding on Twitter Friday morning, the president repeated tactics used during the midterms last year to generate public support.
Citing “another big caravan” of migrants heading to the U.S.-Mexico border, Trump also emphasized the support within the GOP to keep the shutdown in effect.
“Never seen the Republican Party so unified,” Trump tweeted. “No ‘Cave’ on the issue of Border and National Security. A beautiful thing to see, especially when you hear the new rhetoric spewing from the mouths of Democrats who talk Open Border, High Taxes and Crime. Stop Criminals & Drugs now.”
Trump’s letter to Pelosi Thursday mimicked some of the language the House speaker used a day earlier when she asked the president to either postpone his State of the Union address or submit it in writing due to the government shutdown.
“In light of the 800,000 great American workers not receiving pay, I am sure you would agree postponing this public relations event is totally appropriate,” Trump wrote Thursday. “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.”
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