Who Gets to Fly During the Government Shutdown? Nancy Pelosi? No. Melania Trump? Yes
As the government shutdown rages on, it’s not just commercial flying that’s affected; now some members of government are being prevented from flying too.
After House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked President Donald Trump to delay his State of the Union address, Trump on Thursday blocked Pelosi from using military aircraft for a bipartisan congressional trip to Afghanistan.
In his letter to Pelosi, Trump wrote, “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,” he continued, “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.”
But just hours later, First Lady Melania Trump reportedly used another military aircraft to fly to Florida for a weekend vacation at the Trump family’s private Mar-a-Lago resort. (The White House didn’t immediately return Fortune‘s request for comment on the first lady’s trip.)
And it doesn’t end there. Trump then canceled the U.S. delegation’s trip to the World Economic Forum summit in Davos, Switzerland, once again citing the shutdown.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a Thursday statement that the Davos trip was canceled “out of consideration for the 800,000 great American workers not receiving pay and to ensure [Trump’s] team can assist as needed.”
Trump himself had already canceled his own travel to Davos. The delegation was to be comprised of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, among others.
While Trump canceled Pelosi’s and his delegation’s trips due, in part, to the federal employees who are furloughed or working without pay, his wife’s unaffected flight tells us what we already know: that the cost of using government planes isn’t the only thing at play. As the shutdown enters its fourth week with no sign of ending, the tit-for-tat between Trump and Pelosi, his Democratic rival, is also a matter of politics. His delegation’s trip to Davos, meanwhile, is a matter of optics.
At the same time, the prolonged shutdown means average Americans who wish to fly air are facing risks of potentially weakened airport security due to Transportation Security Administration shortages and diminished plane inspections.