Trump’s Pelosi Payback: He May Be A Man-Child But It Was Still An Inspired Response


Donald Trump may be a terrible president and an even worse human. But you have to hand it to him on the payback front. Chris Graham reports.

As the partial US Government shutdown enters its fourth week – a consequence of Trump refusing to sign spending bills until the Democrats give him $5 billion to build his wall across the Mexican border – the Democrats have been holding fast, and looking for ways to frustrate the world’s most powerful man.

Enter Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Congress, a Democrat, and the most powerful woman in the American political system.

Two days ago, Pelosi used her powers to cancel Trump’s scheduled State of the Union address to Congress, the president’s annual address where he outlines his achievements and his future plans.

Pelosi said the Trump-engineered partial government shutdown – which has led to more than 800,000 government workers being furloughed indefinitely – means that security at Congress was stretched, and the safety of the president couldn’t be guaranteed.

So she cancelled his speech, the first time in US history a sitting president has been prevented from delivering the State of the Union.

It was a shrewd move, and sparked reams of copy in American press lauding Pelosi as finally getting the better of the president. Even conservative Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin was celebrating the move, noting that Pelosi had worked out the best way to deal with Trump – like you would a child having a tantrum.

Trump’s response overnight, however, was – you have to admit – inspired.

Pelosi had this morning been due to fly on a junket to Europe, the Middle East and Afghanistan with a host of Democratic colleagues to ‘visit the troops’. One problem – she was planning to fly courtesy of the United States Air Force.

Donald Trump is the Commander-in-Chief of the US military. So Donald Trump cancelled her flight, an hour or so before it was scheduled to leave.

A deadpan White House press secretary Sarah Sanders released Trump’s letter to Pelosi on her Twitter account.

Like or hate Trump, it’s a pretty clever payback.

“Dear Madame Speaker,” Trump wrote. “Due to the Shutdown, 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. 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.

“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 by flying commercial, that would certainly be your prerogative.

“I look forward to seeing you soon and even more forward to watching our open and dangerous Southern Border finally receive the attention, funding, and security it so desperately deserves!”

No word yet on whether or not Pelosi and crew plan to hop on a commercial flight to Afghanistan. And no clear sign yet how the American people will respond to the tit-fot-tat politics while nearly a million workers go unpaid.

Chris Graham is the publisher and editor of New Matilda. He is the former founding managing editor of the National Indigenous Times and Tracker magazine. In more than three decades of journalism he's had his home and office raided by the Australian Federal Police; he's been arrested and briefly jailed in Israel; he's reported from a swag in Outback Australia on and off for years. Chris has worked across multiple mediums including print, radio and film. His proudest achievement is serving as an Associate producer on John Pilger's 2013 film Utopia. He's also won a few journalism awards along the way in both the US and Australia, including a Walkley Award, a Walkley High Commendation and two Human Rights Awards. Since late 2021, Chris has been battling various serious heart and lung conditions. He's begun the process of quietly planning a "gentle exit" after "tying up a few loose ends" in 2024 and 2025. So watch this space.