(CBS SF / CNN) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office says the San Francisco Democrat was forced to nix her Afghanistan trip after President Donald Trump barred her from using a military aircraft and she was told by the State Department diplomatic security that it was too dangerous to fly there commercially.
Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill released a statement Friday saying that while Pelosi and the congressional delegation set to travel with her were prepared to use commercial travel for their trip, the risks associated with the trip only grew after details of those plans to a war zone leaked.
“In the middle of the night, the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service provided an updated threat assessment detailing that the President announcing this sensitive travel had significantly increased the danger to the delegation and to the troops, security, and other officials supporting the trip,” Hammill said. “This morning, we learned that the administration had leaked the commercial travel plans as well.”
The canceled Afghanistan trip marked an escalation in a weeks-long standoff between Pelosi and the President over the government shutdown. On Wednesday, Pelosi sent a letter to the President asking him to consider moving his State of the Union address or to deliver it in writing — citing security concerns because some of the agencies tasked with protecting the event are affected by the on going shutdown. On Thursday, Trump retaliated, blocking Pelosi and members of Congress from using a military jet for a trip they had planned to take to Afghanistan to visit American troops.
“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,” Hammill said. “Whether here or abroad, the Speaker always thanks our troops, diplomats and intelligence community for their heroism and service. The Speaker commends her colleagues on the delegation, who personally and officially have dedicated their lives to protect and defend the American people.”
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