- The Washington Times - Friday, January 18, 2019

MSNBC’S Chris Matthews says Democrats were made to look like “fools” who were “sneaking out of town” to avoid negotiating an end to the government shutdown after President Trump prevented an Air Force jet from going to Brussels, Egypt and Afghanistan.

The host of “Hardball” told guests on Thursday evening that the country “looks bad” as a result of Mr. Trump’s “cheap shot” at the California Democrat.

The president’s letter informed Mrs. Pelosi that her “seven-day excursion” could be rescheduled after the partial government shutdown ends and 800,000 federal employees begin receiving back pay.

“[Democrats] were in the bus heading to Joint Base Edward — Andrews,” Mr. Matthews said. “He made them look like fools sitting in the Capitol at the driveway basically trying to figure out what’s coming next. He caught them in the act as if they were sneaking out of town and made them look stupid. I mean, it clearly, well, it looked like a political dirty trick to me.”

Ben Rhodes, who served as an adviser to former President Barack Obama, could not fathom his old boss resorting to political vindictiveness.

“All kinds of Republican critics traveled to war zones while President Obama was in office, and he thought that was an important property of their responsibilities,” he said, NewsBusters reported. “I’m trying to imagine the discussion in the White House where they decide ‘oh, we have to get Pelosi back for what she did’ and someone is scouring the schedule and somehow thinks it’s a good idea to embarrass Speaker of the House and to deny our troops that expression of support from the third-ranking person in line to the presidency in our system. It’s really sophomoric and it sends a horrible message to the world watching the shutdown and thinking, ‘what’s going on in the United States of America?’

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“It looks bad. Anyway, the White House insisted Trump’s letter was not a response to Pelosi’s State of the Union letter yesterday and indeed, his letter did not mention Pelosi’s call for a delay in the State of the Union. Politico reports that day-long lapse in response was intentional. Quoting a White House official who said: ‘Trump decided to hit back ‘on his terms and timeline.’ “

Mrs. Pelosi’s office said Friday that she would not fly commercially on her trip due to security concerns conveyed by the State Department.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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