Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

As it happenedended1547762431

Government shutdown: Trump blocks Pelosi's trip in State of the Union spat as State Department calls in workers

Comes as Democrat-led House withdrew a bill they had passed  to reopen the shuttered portions of the government

Chris Stevenson
New York
Thursday 17 January 2019 23:00 GMT

Donald Trump has escalated his spat with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over a possible delay to the annual State of the Union address by cancelling her upcoming trip to Belgium, Egypt and Afghanistan.

The White House postponed Ms Pelosi's ability to use military aircraft, which is Mr Trump's perogative as commander-in-chief. It comes a day after Ms Pelosi asked Mr Trump to delay the annual State of the Union address. Both blamed the partial government shutdown.

The episode shows how neither side appear close to backing down over the border wall funding issue that sparked the government closure now into its 27th day.

To follow how events unfolded, follow our liveblog below

Please allow a moment for the liveblog to load


Hello and welcome to our coverage of day 27 of the government shutdown.

Chris Stevenson17 January 2019 19:31

In his spat with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over the location of the State of the Union address amid the federal closure, Mr Trump has said Ms Pelosi's trip to Belgium, Egypt and Afghanistan had been cancelled.

“Due to the Shutdown, I am sorry to inform you that your trip to Brussels, Egypt and Afghanistan has been postponed,” Mr Trump wrote in a letter to the top House Democrat. “We will reschedule this seven-day excursion when the Shutdown is over.”

Chris Stevenson17 January 2019 19:33

Here is the letter:


Chris Stevenson17 January 2019 19:34

In a letter to Pelosi on Thursday, Mr 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." 

Chris Stevenson17 January 2019 19:38

According to crowdfunding website GoFundMe, more than 1,500 campaigns have been started to raise money for federal workers affected by the shutdown.

Chris Stevenson17 January 2019 19:46

GoFundMe spokeswoman Katherine Cichy told CNN that the crowdfunding campaigns have altogether raised more than $300,000 so far.

Chris Stevenson17 January 2019 19:48

Democrat Senator Mark Warner has hit out at the Trump administration's treatment of the FBI, with the president have repeatedly hit out at former members of the service like James Comey.

Mr Warner was reacting to reports the FBI New York branch has opened a food bank to help deal with the shutdown.


Chris Stevenson17 January 2019 19:55

The State Department has instructed all US 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 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.  

Chris Stevenson17 January 2019 20:04

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham has condemned the letter exchange between President Trump and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

Mr Graham called Ms Pelosi's letter to President Trump asking he move the date of his State of the Union address "very irresponsible and blatantly political." He also called Mr Trump's letter to Ms Pelosi denying her military aircraft for an upcoming overseas trip "inappropriate."


Chris Stevenson17 January 2019 20:10

Representative Mark Meadows, a conservative Republican from North Carolina, told CNN he thinks Mr Trump will give his State of the Union address “somewhere else” and said this will hurt Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

“I think he'll give the State of the Union somewhere else, and Nancy's politics will come back to bite her," he said.

Chris Stevenson17 January 2019 20:16

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in