Thursday, January 17, 2019
The President Grounded the Speaker In Response to Her Cancellation of His State of the Union Address
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi invited President Donald Trump to deliver the State of the Address on January 29 in the House of Representatives. She disinvited him on January 15, pending resolution of the Partial Government Shutdown. She said security could not be assured at the Capitol because of the shutdown with security officers going unpaid. President Trump’s twitter account has been strangely silent in response to the Speaker’s unprecedented act. He responded today. The Speaker, Representatives Adam Schiff, Eliot Engel, and other Democrats were on a bus about to catch a military jet for a flight to Afghanistan and Brussels (for NATO) Don’t underestimate President Trump. He has some of LBJ in him. He can reward and he can punish – old style politics. He responded with old style, hardcore politics – not tweets on this occasion.. LBJ, Tip O’Neill, Big Daddy Jesse Unruh, all would be proud. Steny Hoyer, The House Majority Leader, called the President’s act “petty,” “small,” and “vindictive.” Alexandra Pelosi, Speaker Pelosi’s daughter, said on CNN January2 that “She’ll cut your head off and you won’t even know you’re bleeding.” President Trump can play the same hardball politics. Make no mistake – he sent a message! The Democrats got the President’s letter shortly before they reached the plane. The letter was classic: “Due to the Shutdown, I am sorry to inform you that your trip to Brussels, Egypt, and Afghanistan has been postponed. We will reschedule this seven-day excursion when the Shutdown is over. In light of the 800,000 great American workers not receiving pay, I am sure you will agree that postponing this public relations event is totally appropriate.” He added: “I also feel that, during this period if you were in Washington negotiating with me and joining the Strong Border Security movement to end the Shutdown. Obviously, if you would like to make your journey by flying commercial, that would certainly be your prerogative.” Next Tuesday is the next deadline for federal payroll checks to be processed. The cancelled trip was for seven days, meaning that no progress would be made on resolving the dispute before the federal employees missed another paycheck. The Speaker is furious, undoubtedly plotting her next move. She will have ample time to mull it over if she flies commercial. The Democrats were on a junket. Republicans do it too. Junkets are non-partisan. Speaker Pelosi should have realized the optics are bad on the week long cancelled trip. It could only have been planned for weeks if the Democrats knew the Shutdown would continue. Members of Congress should not receive pay during budget shutdowns. They also should not go on government paid junkets. Nor should they go to Puerto Rico either on government money or lobbyist money. The President also cancelled all Congressional delegation travel by military aircraft during the Shutdown. He further cancelled his trip and that of Administration to the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland next week. As a sidenote, Speaker Pelosi had a reputation of using military planes for domestic travel during her previous stint from 2007-11 as Speaker. The next move is the Speaker’s.