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Trump cancels US delegation’s trip to Davos

It comes after the president postponed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Afghanistan.

President Donald Trump has cancelled the US delegation’s trip later this month to an economic forum in Davos, Switzerland.

It was the latest development in Thursday’s back-and-forth over whether politicians and Trump administration officials should travel during the partial government shutdown.

Earlier, Mr Trump postponed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Afghanistan. That was in response to Ms Pelosi asking Mr Trump to postpone his State of the Union address to the nation – set for January 29 – until the government reopens.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement that out of consideration for the 800,000 federal workers not getting paid, the president has cancelled his delegation’s trip to the World Economic Forum.

Mr Trump had earlier pulled out of attending the forum because of the shutdown.

While the shutdown dragged on, the US State Department instructed all US diplomats in Washington and elsewhere to return to work next week with pay, saying it had found money for their salaries at least temporarily despite the ongoing government shutdown.

In a notice to staff posted online and sent to employees, the department said it had found money to pay most of its employees beginning Sunday or Monday for their next pay period.

They will not be paid for time worked since the shutdown began in December until the situation is resolved, said the notice, which was signed by William Todd, the deputy undersecretary of state for management.

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Donald Trump has vowed the US will have ‘powerful, strong border security’ (Evan Vucci/AP)

It was not immediately clear where the money was found, but the department said it would use “existing funds as well as other available fiscal authorities to shift existing balances to restart payroll funding”.

Salaries cannot be guaranteed beyond the next pay period, which ends on February 14, if the shutdown does not end by then, the department said.

However, it said it would “review its balances and available legal authorities to see if other flexibilities may be available”.

The department said it was taking the step because it had become clear that the lapse in funding is harming essential diplomatic and national security objectives.

Ms Pelosi, whose role as House speaker makes her second in line to the presidency after vice president Mike Pence, said Mr Trump has yet to respond to her request that he postpone his State of the Union address until the government is reopened so workers can be paid for providing security for the grand Washington tradition.

“We haven’t heard – very silent,” she told reporters on Thursday.

“Let’s get a date when government is open. Let’s pay the employees.

“Maybe he thinks it’s OK not to pay people who do work. I don’t.”

The president’s planned January 29 address became a potential casualty of the four-week partial government shutdown after the Democratic leader cited concerns about whether the hobbled government can provide adequate security.

Republicans cast Ms Pelosi’s move as a ploy to deny Mr Trump the stage.

Mr Trump declined to address the stalemate over the speech on Thursday during a visit to the Pentagon, simply promising that the nation will have “powerful, strong border security”.

Ms Pelosi reiterated she is more than willing to negotiate money for border security once the government is reopened, but she said Democrats remain opposed to Mr Trump’s long-promised wall, one of his signature campaign promises.

“I’m not for a wall,” Ms Pelosi said twice, mouthing the statement a third time for effect.

Press Association

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