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Trump cancels White House trip to Davos amid longest-ever government shutdown

He also stopped Democratic opponent Nancy Pelosi from going to Afghanistan.

US President Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump
Image: Sipa USA/SIPA USA/PA Images

US PRESIDENT DONALD Trump has cancelled a White House delegation’s trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, amid the ongoing government shutdown.

A spokesperson said the trip by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and others was being cancelled “out of consideration for the 800,000 great American workers not receiving pay”.

The partial government shutdown, which today enters its 28th day, is the longest in modern US history.

The Democrats’ refusal to approve $5.7 billion (about €5 billion) demanded by Trump for a wall along the US-Mexico border project has paralysed Washington, with the president retaliating by refusing to sign off on budgets for swaths of government departments unrelated to the dispute.

As a result, some 800,000 workers including FBI agents, air traffic controllers and museum staff did not receive pay cheques this month.

The World Economic Forum is due to take place from 22 to 25 January. 

Trump yesterday forced the cancellation of a trip to Afghanistan by his Democratic opponent Nancy Pelosi. The disagreement between the pair is getting increasingly personal as the shutdown continues. 

In a letter laced with sarcasm, Trump told House Speaker Pelosi: “I am sorry to inform you that your trip to Brussels, Egypt and Afghanistan has been postponed. We will reschedule this seven-day excursion when the Shutdown is over.

“I am sure you would agree that postponing this public relations event is appropriate,” he wrote.

Buy your own flights 

Pelosi and her delegation had planned a non-publicised trip to Afghanistan — an active war zone — and were due to travel aboard a US Air Force plane. Her office said Egypt was not on the itinerary.

According to a congressional aide, several lawmakers were already loaded onto buses preparing to leave the US Capitol yesterday when Trump pulled the plug.

Trump said Pelosi could still book her own non-government flights.

“Obviously, if you would like to make your journey by flying commercial, that would certainly be your prerogative,” he wrote.

The cancellation followed Pelosi’s suggestion that Trump postpone his 29 January State of the Union address to Congress, or do it from the White House instead.

Although she cited the shutdown’s effect on security, she appeared to want to deny the president one of his chief annual moments in the limelight.

The White House denied that the travel blockage was payback, but few believed this stance.  

© AFP 2019

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