Trump grounds Pelosi after she imperils his big speech
WASHINGTON — She imperiled his State of the Union address. He denied her an aircraft to visit troops abroad.The shutdown battle between President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is playing out as a surreal game of constitutional brinksmanship, with both flexing their political powers from opposite ends of Pennsylvania Avenue as the negotiations to end the monthlong partial government shutdown remain stalled.In dramatic fashion, Trump issued a letter to Pelosi on Thursday, just before she and other lawmakers were set to depart on the previously undisclosed trip to Afghanistan and Brussels. Trump belittled the trip as a “public relations event” and said it would be best if Pelosi remained in Washington to negotiate to reopen the government.“Obviously, if you would like to make your journey by flying commercial, that would certainly be your prerogative!” concluded Trump, who had been smarting since Pelosi, the day before, called on him to postpone his Jan. 29 State of the Union address due to the shutdown.Denying military aircraft to a senior lawmaker is very rare and Congress was caught off guard. A bus to ferry the legislators to their departure idled outside the Capitol on Thursday afternoon.Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said the speaker planned to travel to Afghanistan and Brussels to thank service members and obtain briefings on national security and intelligence “from those on the front lines.” He noted Trump had traveled to Iraq during the shutdown and said a Republican-led congressional trip also had taken place.