Washington (April 11, 2018): President Donald Trump abruptly canceled his first trip to Latin America Tuesday, hunkering down in the White House as he faces momentous decisions about military strikes in Syria and an FBI investigation that is inching closer to the Oval Office.
In a statement that surprised even some White House staff, press secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump’s trip to Peru and Colombia — set to get under way Friday — had been scrapped.
“The president will remain in the United States to oversee the American response to Syria and to monitor developments around the world,” she said.
Trump had already cut the visit short twice — from five days, to three — and, finally, to none. The combative US president had been expected in Peru for the Summit of the Americas, where he was likely to face protests and awkward meetings with leaders who have bristled at his repeated portrayal of Latino immigrants as rapists and thugs. Vice President Mike Pence will represent the United States in Lima, his aide Jarrod Agen said, adding that the former lawmaker would also meet Venezuelan dissidents.
Trump is still expected to travel to his Mar-a-Lago holiday home in Florida on Monday, where a summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will go ahead.
But until then Trump will remain in Washington — as will Pentagon chief Jim Mattis, who also has postponed planned weekend travel — as several gathering storms converge on the White House.