First lady Melania Trump left Washington, D.C., on Thursday to spend the holiday weekend at her husband President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property, and many were quick to attack her for traveling just hours after the president grounded Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
On ABC’s “The View” Friday, regular guest host Ana Navarro brought up the topic, saying, “Let’s not forget that while he was canceling Nancy Pelosi going to visit troops in Afghanistan, Melania was flying on an Air Force jet to Mar-a-Lago in Florida.”
Navarro was not the only one to make the point, either.
MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell posed the same question on Twitter, arguing that Pelosi was “entitled” to use a military plane.
.@SpeakerPelosi cannot use military plane to war zone and NATO that speakers are entitled to (for security since 9/11 because she is in line of succession) but Melania Trump flew tonight to Maralago on same type of military 757 from JBA.
— Andrea Mitchell (@mitchellreports) January 18, 2019
Just reported on @MSNBC: Melania Trump flew to Florida today on a government plane, a law enforcement source confirms to NBC News, just after Trump prevented Nancy Pelosi from using a government plane to visit troops in Afghanistan. @TheLastWord
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) January 18, 2019
Melania Trump flew to Mar-a-Lago on a US military jet just hours after Donald Trump canceled Nancy Pelosi’s military flight because of the government shutdown. Cool. https://t.co/QKOLIg5BJW
— Public Citizen (@Public_Citizen) January 18, 2019
The White House thought it was cool to send Melania Trump to Mar-A-Lago — that’s an actual vacation — on a military plane after blocking Pelosi from going to see the troops. But nobody loves the military more, amirite?
— Adam Best (@adamcbest) January 18, 2019
Trump bars Pelosi from visiting troops but Melania can hop on an Air Force ride to a golf resort. https://t.co/iLlhUQuAZJ
— HuffPost (@HuffPost) January 18, 2019
But as some pointed out: Melania Trump has no obligation to remain in the nation’s capital. Not only that, but her leaving would have no impact on any potential negotiations to reopen the government, which is still mired in the longest shutdown in history over funding for a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Does Melania need to be in DC to negotiate an end to the shutdown? https://t.co/Kw1jmZMoov
— Dan Gainor (@dangainor) January 18, 2019
The president made it clear in the letter he sent to Speaker Pelosi that, in addition to the optics of international travel while 800,000 federal workers were not receiving pay, he felt that she would be better served to stay in Washington “negotiating with me and joining the Strong Border Security movement and end the Shutdown.” (RELATED: Trump Cancels Pelosi’s International Travel Over Shutdown)
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) January 17, 2019
He also suggested that if Pelosi still wants to make her trip to Brussels, Afghanistan and Egypt, she could fly commercial — and on Friday morning, Speaker Pelosi claimed that she initially did intend to make the trip via commercial means, but the White House’s revelation of that possibility had created an insurmountable security risk.
Pelosi has given no indication that she will engage in negotiations in spite of the fact that she is remaining in Washington.