A couple of days ago, when Nancy Pelosi threatened to effectively cancel Donald Trump’s State of the Union address if the government shutdown was still going, I thought: Damn! Pelosi is not playing around, and she hit Trump where it hurts him the most: His ego, his need for attention, and his desire to sell the wall on a nationally televised platform.
I expected backlash, and yesterday, Trump hit back by effectively canceling Nancy Pelosi’s delegation to Brussels and war-torn Afghanistan, although he left her the option of flying into a war-zone on a commercial flight. My first thought was: Ouch. Well played, asshole. But then I read about the consequences of that action — he didn’t hurt Pelosi. He created a giant headache for the Air Force and the Pentagon, who learned of the cancellation along with everyone else, literally minutes before Pelosi and her delegation were set to take off.
This is what was at stake, via The Daily Beast:
Pelosi’s trip was to come during a particularly sensitive geopolitical moment. The Speaker was to stop in Brussels to meet with top NATO commanders amid Trump’s continued criticism of the transcontinental alliance. And she was to visit Afghanistan amid news that the president would significantly drawback U.S. troops from the ground, two source with the U.S. Marines in Kabul said.
Troops on the ground viewed the Pelosi trip as a chance to gain an inroad with someone, especially the highest ranking member of the House, in the U.S. government who could see the need to keep U.S. troops in the country. The announcement of the drawback has significantly lowered morale among officials and soldiers.
Pelosi and her delegation, however, weren’t going to let Trump’s pettiness stop them from making the trip. So, they made plans to fly commercially into a war zone — even as Melania Trump was taking the same kind of military flight that Pelosi was scheduled to take from the White House to Mar-A-Lago by herself, during a government shutdown. Obviously, Trump had no problems spending government money during a shutdown, just not on Pelosi. But, you know: Melania had a long weekend getaway to get to.
In either respect, Pelosi and her delegation were set to travel on commercial flights until Trump — that petty, petty man — leaked details of her commercial flight, putting both Pelosi’s delegation and the military in danger. Here’s Pelosi’s Chief of Staff, Drew Hammill, on Twitter:
The United States Congress is a co-equal branch of government in our system of checks and balances. The Congress has a constitutional responsibility to conduct oversight in the war zone where our men and women in uniform are risking their lives every day. 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.
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. This morning, we learned that the Administration had leaked the commercial travel plans 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.
That is remarkably small. It wasn’t enough that he forced Pelosi to fly commercial — which was enough to prove his point, and “own the libs” — but he took it a step further and endangered the lives of the troops in his shitty game of one-up-manship.
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