BOSTON (CBS/AP) – Massachusetts Congressman Stephen Lynch on Friday blasted President Donald Trump for the way he denied House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her congressional delegation military transport to Afghanistan. The Democratic representative said the president put everyone on the trip “in mortal danger” by making their destination public.
Lynch said he was on a bus with other members of Congress Thursday when Trump announced in a letter that he was canceling the military aircraft being used for the trip because of the ongoing federal government shutdown, and suggested the group could fly commercial.
According to Lynch, the president jeopardized the safety of the congressional delegation with his “unforgivable” actions.
“Putting all these people in mortal danger and outing us to al-Qaida and the Taliban and others, I think, is just reprehensible and the worst possible conduct and a violation of every protocol that we have,” Lynch said in a press conference.
Pelosi said she planned to go without military transport but was thwarted after “the administration leaked that we were traveling commercially.” She says the State Department reported “the president outing” the original trip made the scene on the ground in Afghanistan “more dangerous because it’s a signal to the bad actors that we’re coming.”
The White House has denied leaking Pelosi’s backup plan to fly commercially and says it leaked nothing that would cause a security risk.
Pelosi and Trump are at an impasse over funding Trump wants for a U.S.-Mexico border wall. The partial government shutdown has reached its 28th day.
Lynch called Trump’s latest jab at Pelosi “spiteful,” “small-minded” and “petty.”
“The sad part is he doesn’t even get it and there’s nobody in that circle around him that has the guts enough to explain how reprehensible and how disgraceful what he just did is,” Lynch said.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)