Trump denies Pelosi aircraft for planned trip abroad

  • A portion of a letter sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to President Donald Trump, Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019 in Washington. A day after Pelosi sought to delay President Trump’s State of Union address amid their government shutdown clash, the president flexed his executive power right back, denying her an aircraft for a planned trip abroad. (AP Photo/Wayne Partlow) Wayne Partlow

  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo greets Vice President Mike Pence at the Global Chiefs of Mission Conference "One Team, One Mission, One Future" at Department of State on Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana) Jose Luis Magana

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) Carolyn Kaster

  • President Donald Trump speaks about American missile defense doctrine, Thursday, Jan 17, 2019, at the Pentagon. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci) Evan Vucci

  • FILE - In this Jan. 30, 2018 file photo, President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) Pablo Martinez Monsivais

  • Several dozen federal employees and supporters demonstrated at the Sacramento International Airport calling for President Donald Trump and Washington lawmakers to end then partial government shutdown, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019, in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli) Rich Pedroncelli

  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., left, and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., right, laugh as they wait for other freshman Congressmen to deliver a letter calling to an end to the government shutdown to deliver to the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019. Also pictured is Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, right. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) Andrew Harnik

  • A portion of a letter sent to President Donald Trump from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019 in Washington. Pelosi has asked President Trump to postpone his State of the Union address to the nation, set for Jan. 29, until the government reopens. (AP Photo/Wayne Partlow) Wayne Partlow

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., center, speaks to reporters as she leaves an event with furloughed federal workers amid the partial government shutdown, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) Andrew Harnik

  • Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., center, walks through the halls of the Capitol Building in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) Andrew Harnik

  • In this Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, photo, trout roil the surface of the water as a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employee feeds the young trout at the Norfork National Fish Hatchery in Mountain Home, Ark. As the partial government shutdown continues, the hatchery is closed to the public but employees there continue to care for the fish. (Josh Dooley/The Baxter Bulletin via AP) Josh Dooley/The Baxter Bulletin

  • On day 26 of the partial government shutdown, Senate Democrats, led by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions ranking member Patty Murray, D-Wash., assemble outside the Capitol holding photographs of their constituents affected by the impasse between Congress and the White House, in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) J. Scott Applewhite

  • People wait in line at Chef Jose Andres' World Central Kitchen for free meals to workers effected by the government shutdown, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019 in Washington. Andres opened his World Central Kitchen feeding site on Pennsylvania Ave., to provide food to furloughed workers and their families. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) Pablo Martinez Monsivais

  • In this Jan. 10, 2019 photo, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., meets with reporters in her first formal news conference, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Pelosi has asked President Donald Trump to postpone his State of the Union address to the nation, set for Jan. 29, until the government reopens. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) J. Scott Applewhite

  • In this Friday, Jan. 11, 2019, photo a statue of a panda bear is seen behind the closed gate of the Smithsonian's National Zoo that is closed because of the partial government shutdown in Washington. The Baked by Yael bakery is located across the street. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) Carolyn Kaster

  • FILE- In this Monday, Jan. 14, 2019, file photo security lines at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta stretch more than an hour long amid the partial federal shutdown. As the partial government shutdown moves through its fourth week with no end in sight, the economic blow is being felt not only by federal workers but also by business people, households and travelers across the country. (John Spink/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP, File) JOHN SPINK / AJC

  • White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders talks with reporters outside the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci) Evan Vucci

  • President Donald Trump speaks at the American Farm Bureau Federation's 100th Annual Convention, Monday Jan. 14, 2019, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) Jacquelyn Martin

Published: 1/17/2019 4:00:18 PM

It took President Donald Trump one day to flex his executive power back at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, denying her an aircraft for a planned trip abroad in apparent response to her attempt to delay his State of Union address amid their government shutdown clash.

The nation’s two most powerful leaders appeared to be engaged in a game of Constitutional one-upmanship, as negotiations to end the 4-week stalemate failed to produce results.

In a letter to Pelosi on Thursday, Trump said that due to the shutdown a trip to Egypt, Brussels and Afghanistan would be delayed, declaring: “In light of the 800,000 great American workers not receiving pay, I’m sure you would agree that postponing this public relations event is totally appropriate.”

While the shutdown dragged on, the State Department on Thursday instructed all U.S. diplomats in Washington and elsewhere to return to work next week with pay, saying it had found money for their salaries at least temporarily despite the ongoing government shutdown.

In a notice to staff posted online and sent to employees, the department said it had found money to pay most of its employees beginning Sunday or Monday for their next pay period. They will not be paid for time worked since the shutdown began in December until the situation is resolved, said the notice, which was signed by William Todd, the deputy undersecretary of state for management.

It was not immediately clear where the money was found, but the department said it would use “existing funds as well as other available fiscal authorities to shift existing balances to restart payroll funding.”

Salaries cannot be guaranteed beyond the next pay period, which ends on Feb. 14, if the shutdown does not end by then, the department said. However, it said it would “review its balances and available legal authorities to see if other flexibilities may be available.”

The department said it was taking the step because it had become clear that the lapse in funding is harming essential diplomatic and national security objectives.

“While the department has done its best to address matters essential to achieving U.S. national security and foreign policy objectives during the ongoing lapse, it has become clear as the lapse has continued to historic lengths that we need our full team to address the myriad critical issues requiring U.S. leadership around the globe and to fulfill our commitments to the American people,” it said.

It added that the department’s leadership was “deeply concerned” about the financial hardships faced by its employees.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had raised eyebrows among the U.S. diplomatic corps last week when he proclaimed that morale at the State Department was “good” despite the shutdown and the fact that 40 percent of its employees in the U.S. and nearly 23 percent overseas had been furloughed and the rest were working without pay.

His comments also touched a nerve as he said he planned to go ahead with a previously scheduled conference of all U.S. ambassadors in Washington this week despite the funding constraints affecting employees.

Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan announced the return to work with pay instructions to that conference on Thursday and was greeted with two rounds of sustained applause, according to one diplomat who was present.

Outside the State Department other agencies continued to operate under the shutdown constraints.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says President Donald Trump has yet to respond to her request that he postpone his State of the Union address until the government is reopened so workers can be paid for providing security for the grand Washington tradition.

“We haven’t heard – very silent,” she told reporters on Thursday. “Let’s get a date when government is open. Let’s pay the employees. Maybe he thinks it’s okay not to pay people who do work. I don’t.”

The president’s planned Jan. 29 address became a potential casualty of the four-week partial government shutdown after the Democratic leader cited concerns about whether the hobbled government can provide adequate security. Republicans cast Pelosi’s move as a ploy to deny Trump the stage.

Trump declined to address the stalemate over the speech Thursday during a visit to the Pentagon, simply promising that the nation will have “powerful, strong border security.”

The uncertainty surrounding the annual address also underscored the unraveling of ceremonial norms and niceties in Trump’s Washington, amid the shutdown over the president’s demand for money to build a U.S.-Mexico border wall. The impasse is draining the finances of hundreds of thousands of federal employees going without paychecks.

Pelosi reiterated she is more than willing to negotiate money for border security once the government is reopened, but she said Democrats remain opposed to Trump’s long-promised wall, one of his signature campaign promises.

“I’m not for a wall,” Pelosi said twice, mouthing the statement a third time for effect.

Pressure on Trump intensified, as lawmakers from both parties scrambled for solutions. The shutdown, already the longest ever, entered its 27th day Thursday.

While Trump’s own advisers said the shutdown was proving a greater drag on the economy than expected, Trump showed no signs of backing off a fight that he views as vital for his core supporters.


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