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Pelosi finding out the hard way that you can't out-troll Trump

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 1/17/2019 Becket Adams
a close up of Nancy Pelosi © Provided by MediaDC: Washington Newspaper Publishing Company, Inc.

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

President Trump just grounded House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

The White House published a letter Thursday afternoon announcing the president had canceled the congresswoman’s scheduled seven-day tour of Brussels, Egypt, and Afghanistan. Pelosi’s congressional delegation was slated to depart at around 3:00 p.m. Thursday, meaning they learned of the cancellation roughly 30 minutes prior to takeoff.

"Due to the Shutdown, I am sorry to inform you that your trip to Brussels, Egypt, and Afghanistan has been postponed," the president’s letter reads. "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 would agree that postponing this public relations event is totally appropriate,” it adds. “I also feel that, during this period, it would be better 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 flying commercial, that would certainly be your prerogative.”

As congressional delegations are typically flown by the U.S. military for overseas trips, the president does indeed have the power to cancel the trip. The commander in chief has oversight of the armed forces. That doesn’t mean this isn't petty or ridiculous — then again, so is Pelosi's talk of canceling the State of the Union.

Trump’s letter comes just one day after Pelosi sent the White House a letter proposing that the president’s Jan. 29 State of the Union address be postponed until after the partial government shutdown ends.

“In September 2018, Secretary Nielsen designated State of the Union Addresses as National Special Security Events (NSSEs), recognizing the need for ‘the full resources of the Federal Government to be brought to bear’ to ensure the security of these events," Pelosi’s letter reads. "The extraordinary demands presented by NSSEs require weeks of detailed planning with dozens of agencies working together to prepare for the safety of all participants. However, both the U.S. Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security have not been funded for 26 days now — with critical departments hamstrung by furloughs,” the letter adds. “Sadly, given the security concerns and unless government re-opens this week, I suggest that we work together to determine another suitable date after government has re-opened for this address or for you to consider delivering your State of the Union address in writing to the Congress on January 29th.”

Like the flight cancellation, Pelosi’s proposal is a nakedly political calculation, as noted yesterday. Both the U.S. Secret Service and Homeland Security disputed the speaker’s suggestion that they’ve been hobbled by a lack of funding. The Secret Service revealed further that they weren’t even contacted by the speaker’s office regarding her supposed reason for wanting to postpone the State of the Union.

Pelosi’s concerns are obvious nonsense, given that she extended the invitation to Trump on Jan. 3, 12 full days into the partial government shutdown.

Pelosi tried to pull a power move on the White House. On Thursday, Trump landed a brutally timed counter-punch. His reasoning — that she should be in the nation’s capital to continue negotiating the end of the shutdown — is a scathingly shrewd touch. Also, just to rub some salt in the wound, a White House official confirmed to NBC News that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is still slated to fly to Davos, Switzerland, for next week’s World Economic Forum.

Like the GOP presidential field in the 2016 primaries, Pelosi may be learning the hard way that you can’t out-troll Trump. This is his bread and butter.

The ball is in her court now, and it's unclear where she goes. When Trump trolls, "There are no lands beyond."

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