WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. President Donald Trump announced Tuesday that he had cancelled his first visit to Latin America to focus on the unfolding situation in Syria.
Trump was scheduled to attend the eighth Summit of the Americans in Lima, Peru on Friday and Saturday before continuing on to Bogota, Colombia on Sunday. Vice President Mike Pence will attend the summit in Trump’s place, the White House announced. The president’s daughter, Ivanka, will also attend to defend “women’s place in the economy of the region,” according to a high-ranking official.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the president cancelled the trip in order to supervise U.S. handling of the situation in Syria, given that Washington is evaluating a possible military reaction to the alleged chemical attack on Saturday in Duma, attributed to the Russia-backed government.
“Trump’s dropping out of the Lima summit is an appalling demonstration of disrespect for Latin America,” Richard E. Feinberg, a senior Latin America fellow at the Brookings Institution, told The New York Times. “This has to be seen in the context of a president who has been ranting and railing against Latin America continually for the last several years.”