But the most cutting paragraph of all, given that the letter was signed by six Republican lawmakers, might be the one that compares Bush unfavorably to former President Clinton. It cites several occasions when Clinton could have prevented congressional delegations from taking trips that he opposed, but never did. "As Members of Congress, constitutionally equal to the executive branch, we have the right and duty of oversight and fact-finding," the letter says. "To our knowledge, with the exception of travel to an active war zone, never has a president prohibited congressional travel." According to a spokesman for Rep. Weldon, the White House told him that "it wasn't the right time" for the delegation to visit North Korea, despite the fact that Weldon had been in constant contact with the State and Defense departments about the trip in the weeks and days before Card suddenly pulled the plug.
Asked for a response, a spokesperson for the National Security Council gave this statement to TIME: “Given the progress the President has made on a multi-lateral approach to convincing North Korea to give up its nuclear program, we believe any bilateral delegation to North Korea would be inappropriate at this time. We regret the inconvenience caused to Congressman Weldon and his delegation concerning this matter.”