When President Donald Trump canceled House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s overseas trip last week, it brought renewed attention to Pelosi’s previous expensive travels — and one report uncovered a bombshell: In 2015, Pelosi led a group of Democratic lawmakers on a delegation to Italy and Ukraine, traveling in a U.S. Air Force-owned private luxury jet and running up a total bill to taxpayers of a whopping $184,587.81.
On Saturday, watchdog group Judicial Watch released documents detailing the 2015 trip, which they obtained through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and lawsuits.
Vacation in Europe
Several Democratic members of Congress accompanied Pelosi on the trip, which was scheduled from July 30 to Aug. 6, 2015.
But there was extra room for family members, too. According to the itinerary, Pelosi was also joined by her husband, Paul Pelosi.
The spouses of several other Democrat lawmakers were also in attendance.
Additionally, the delegation wasn’t solely a work-related excursion overseas. The itinerary revealed that they enjoyed sight-seeing in Italy — including tours of the Vatican alongside meetings with Italian dignitaries — and fine dining, including at an upscale restaurant where a five-course meal for one person runs upwards of $190.
Furthermore, an email revealed that Pelosi’s team made an unusual and specific request for a certain flight crew for the Air Force jet. One unidentified Air Force official wrote to another on July 9, 2015: “You’re going to love this…CODEL Pelosi is requesting the crew they had on this earlier attached trip. Apparently, they were very pleased with their service. I already told the escort chances were slim.”
The Daily Caller pointed out that the Pelosi delegation’s week-long 2015 trip to Europe cost taxpayers nearly $200,000 — roughly the same amount as a four-year education at Harvard University.
By way of comparison, Judicial Watch also revealed the costs of a Republican delegation to East Asia in August 2015. Led by Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, the trip utilized commercial air travel and per diems for participants, which only cost taxpayers around $26,000.
Judicial Watch has been attempting to keep Pelosi honest by tracking her excessive travel costs since 2009.
In 2016, the Tom Fitton-led group released a statement that read in part:
Beginning in 2009, after the media failed to follow up on concerns raised about Nancy Pelosi’s use of luxury Air Force jets to travel between her congressional district and DC, Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information act requests exposed her abuse of this travel perk. Judicial Watch uncovered that Pelosi’s military travel cost the United States Air Force $2,100,744.59 over one two-year period — $101,429.14 of which was for in-flight expenses, including food and alcohol.
When Pelosi earlier this month pulled her political stunt and suggested canceling the president’s upcoming State of the Union address, she cited security concerns and costs during the ongoing government shutdown.
When Trump responded the next day by canceling Pelosi’s planned trip to Afghanistan and other nearby countries, he too cited costs incurred during the shutdown, and suggested Pelosi should instead remain in town to negotiate — or fly commercial — rather than jetting off around the world on the taxpayer’s dime.
Given Pelosi’s history of taking extravagant, taxpayer-funded trips, she has no room to talk about costs or security requirements above the norm — particularly during the shutdown which she is prolonging by her unwillingness to negotiate. Trump was absolutely right in his decision to ground her.