Melania Trump was in route to Mar-a-Lago on an Air Force jet Thursday – the same day President Donald Trump grounded Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s government plane to Afghanistan.
An Air Force plane with the call sign EXEC1F was spotted by the CilMilAir Twitter account, the same account that tracked the first couple’s trip to Iraq to visit the troops after Christmas, approaching Florida on Thursday evening.
That call sign is associated with a plane carrying the first lady.
Melania Trump’s office did not respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.
Melania Trump was in route to Mar-a-Lago on an Air Force jet Thursday – the same day President Donald Trump grounded Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s government plane to Afghanistan
Speaker Nancy Pelosi was scheduled to visit U.S. troops in Afghanistan until Trump grounded her flight
The executive branch travel comes after Trump grounded the speaker in retaliation for her letter suggesting he not give his State of the Union address on Jan. 29 if the government is still shutdown.
A White House official argued it was not a vengeance move but it came across as retaliatory.
The president canceled his administration’s trip to Davos on Thursday, however.
‘Out of consideration for the 800,000 great American workers not receiving pay and to ensure his team can assist as needed, President Trump has canceled his Delegation’s trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland,’ said White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was preparing to lead a presidential delegation of Cabinet members to Davos, for the gathering of elite economic, business and government leaders at next week’s World Economic Forum.
The cancelation came after Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, who was scheduled to travel with Pelosi to Afghanistan, slammed the president for canceling their trip when he and the first lady went to Iraq to visit U.S. troops over Christmas and the Cabinet trip to Davos was on the schedule.
‘The president’s concern about a war zone apparently doesn’t apply to a delegation of the administration going to Davos the following week. We got confirmation that is still planned. So, this is obviously an action directed at the speaker,’ he charged.
He also charged the president with endangering the speaker’s safety by publicly announcing the trip. Trips to war zones are usually not announced until the lawmaker has left the area for security reasons.
‘I think the president’s decision to disclose a trip that the speaker is making to a war zone is completely and utterly irresponsible in every way,’ Schiff told reporters outside of Pelosi’s Capitol Hill office.
Trump canceled his trip to Davos because of the shutdown, just like he canceled his Christmas plans for Mar-a-Lago.
The first lady spent most of the holidays at the couple’s Florida estate, although she returned to the White House on Christmas even to spend the day with the president and then join him in Iraq – a trip that was not announced by the White House until the first couple was preparing to leave the war zone.
The Air Force Jet Melania flew to Florida on over the Christmas holidays
An Air Force plane with the call sign EXEC1F was spotted by the CilMilAir Twitter account approaching Florida
The call sign EXEC1F is used by planes carrying the first lady
The first lady spent most of the holiday season in Mar-a-Lago except when she returned to Washington on Christmas Eve to be the president and join him in Iraq
The speaker was scheduled to leave Thursday afternoon.
A blue Air Force bus was packed with lawmakers outside the Longworth House Office Building – Pelosi was not on board – prepared to head to Joint Base Andrews when the presidential verdict came down.
The bus led reporters on a merry chase around Capitol Hill.
It pulled out from the House office building, which is across the street from the Capitol building, circled the block, pulled into the U.S. Capitol drive way, let some lawmakers off, took off again, returned to the Longworth House Office Building but left when security staff saw the media waiting, and ultimately returned to the Capitol building.
Pelosi’s office said the trip was to thank the troops and pointed out the president made a similar expedition to Iraq in December.
‘The Congressional Delegation to Afghanistan included a required stop in Brussels for pilot rest. In Brussels, the delegation was scheduled to meet with top NATO commanders, U.S. military leaders and key allies – to affirm the United States’ ironclad commitment to the NATO alliance,’ said Pelosi spokesperson Drew Hammill in a statement. ‘This weekend visit to Afghanistan did not include a stop in Egypt.’
‘The purpose of the trip was to express appreciation and thanks to our men and women in uniform for their service and dedication, and to obtain critical national security and intelligence briefings from those on the front lines,’ Hammill continued. ‘The President traveled to Iraq during the Trump Shutdown as did a Republican CODEL led by Rep. Zeldin.’
Trump announced his Cabinet officials would not be traveling to Davos after Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff criticized the president for canceling Pelosi’s trip but leaving Switzerland on the calendar
President Trump sent Pelosi a letter to say her trip was postponed because of the shutdown
Lawmakers were in a bus prepared to head to their plane when the trip was cancelled
Trump announced his decision to cancel the codel, as official congressional trips are known, in a letter to Pelosi released by the White House. The speaker’s office was told of his decision ahead of the public announcement, however.
‘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,’ the letter wrote. Pelosi’s office says she was never scheduled to go to Egypt.
‘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,’ the president wrote.
‘Obviously, if you would like to make your journey by flying commercial, that would certainly be your prerogative,’ he added.
Sanders said the speaker was needed in the capitol for negotiations.
‘We want to keep her in Washington,’ she said. ‘If she leaves, she guarantees that the second round of paychecks to 800,000 federal workers won’t go out. The deadline to make that deal is midnight on Tuesday. She wasn’t scheduled to be back until Wednesday. The president wants her here to negotiate.’
There are currently no meetings scheduled between the White House and House Democrats. Negotiations to reopen the government remain deadlocked.
The 48-hours of back and forth began Wednesday.
Pelosi had invited Trump earlier this month to address the House and Senate for the State of the Union, per tradition, on Jan. 29 — a date that the White House accepted.
But on Wednesday she wrote him a letter stating that no president has ever delivered a State of the Union speech in the midst of a shutdown and suggested he follow that lead.
‘The U.S. Secret Service was designated as the lead federal agency responsible for coordinating, planning, exercising, and implementing security for National Special Security Events by Public Law 106-544, December 19, 2000. However, both the U.S. Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security have not been funded for 26 days now – with critical departments hamstrung by furloughs,’ Pelosi wrote.
‘Sadly, given the security concerns and unless government re-opens this week, I suggest that we work together to determine another suitable date after government has re-opened for this address or for you to consider delivering your State of the Union address in writing to the Congress on January 29th,’ she added.
The White House has not formally responded to Pelosi’s request.
‘We’ll keep you posted. Nothing’s changed on that front,’ Sanders said Thursday.