House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) will visit Taiwan during her upcoming tour of Asia, the White House said Monday. The announcement signaled a shift in the Biden administration's position regarding a woman's right to choose her travel destination.
White House officials had attempted to dissuade Pelosi from making the trip in order to coddle China's communist regime. "The military thinks it's not a good idea right now," President Joe Biden told reporters on July 20. The Chinese government denounced Pelosi's trip, which has been in the works since April, as a "malicious provocation" and has even threatened to shoot down her plane.
Yet Pelosi would not be dissuaded, and the White House staff were forced to support her choice and pretend as if they never tried to talk her out of it. "The speaker makes her own decisions," White House national security spokesman John Kirby said Monday. "What we did was provide her context, analysis, facts, and information so that she can make the best decision possible."
Secretary of State Antony Blinken echoed the administration's reluctant acquiescence. "Congress is an independent, coequal branch of government," Blinken said Monday. "The decision is entirely the speaker's." Meanwhile, a spokesman for China's foreign ministry told reporters that Pelosi's visit would have an "egregious political impact" and warned that the Chinese military was prepared to take "strong countermeasures to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity."