In a letter, the president told Pelosi that he was canceling her trip, which also included stops in Brussels and Egypt with a congressional delegation, due to the government shutdown. The decision seemed to be retaliation after the Speaker suggested this year's State of the Union be postponed until after the government re-opens.
Trump wrote to Pelosi: “In light of 800,000 great American workers not receiving any pay, I am sure you would agree that postponing this public relations event is totally appropriate.” He also suggested Pelosi fly commercial with the congressional delegation if she didn't want to put off the trip, even though the Speaker travels with a security team just like the first family and other high-level officials. (It's been 27 days since the government partially shut down due to a dispute over funding for President Trump's border wall. This is the longest shutdown in history.)
At the same time, the first lady was preparing for a long weekend in the family's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida with her son Barron. She departed from Joint Base Andrews on taxpayers' dime. Her flight was classified as EXEC1F, a designation routinely used to signify that the president's family members are aboard a military plane.
Quartz estimated Melania's flight to Florida would cost taxpayers around $35,000. This is not the first time the first lady's trips have come under scrutiny: Before she officially moved to the White House in the summer of 2017, she racked up $675,000 in military flights to and from New York, Florida, and Washington, D.C.
Refinery29 reached out to the office of first lady Melania Trump for comment. We'll update this story as soon as we hear back.