Donald Trump scrapped a trip on Thursday to Warsaw — where other heads of state are gathering this weekend to commemorate the invasion that launched WWII — saying he needed to remain in Washington to oversee the federal response to Hurricane Dorian as it heads for Florida.
Trump tossed the trip to Vice President Mike Pence, saying in hastily-put together Rose Garden remarks that ‘Mike will be going’ instead on the trip to Europe the U.S. president had been scaling back for days.
‘To ensure that all resources of the federal government are focused on the arriving storm, I have decided to send our Vice President Mike to Poland this weekend in my place,’ he said in a surprise move.
Donald Trump scrapped a trip on Thursday to Warsaw, where other heads of state are gathering this weekend to commemorate the invasion that launched WWII, saying he needed to remain in Washington to oversee the federal response to a hurricane that’s expected to hit Puerto Rico
This updated graphic released Thursday at 11 EST shows the predicted trajectory of the hurricane which is expected to make landfall either late Sunday or early Monday
Stunning footage from outer space shows Hurricane Dorian in all its might, swirling towards Florida, where it’s forecast to make landfall on Labor Day Monday as a monster Category 4 storm. This was shot from the International Space Station Thursday afternoon
Hurricane Dorian is pictured Thursday in this satellite image as it barrels past Puerto Rico, sparing the island, and heads towards the northern Bahamas and Florida’s east coast, leading Florida to declare a state of emergency
Preparing for the storm: Florida residents in Casselberry started to fill sand bags in preparation for Hurricane Dorian’s blow
‘It’s something very important for me to be here. The storm looks like it could be a very, very big one indeed. And Mike will be going,’ he said.
Trump said he called President Andrzej Duda of Poland and ‘expressed my warmest wishes’ just prior to the unexpected public announcement.
‘Our highest priority is our safety and security of the people in the path of the hurricane,’ he said. ‘And I will be rescheduling my trip to Poland in the near future.’
Already, the U.S. president had cancelled a second stop on the journey, to Denmark, on a claim that he’d been unacceptably insulted by the country’s prime minister. She had shunted his prospects of purchasing Greenland, a nation within the Danish kingdom.
The leaders made up in a phone call, and Trump said he’d reschedule his visit. He did not immediately make an effort to do so, though, generating speculation that he’d ditch his entire slate of events.
Trump had planned to make the trip Poland for the 80th anniversary of the first battle of World War II, reconfirming his plans recently as Monday.
‘We’ll be in Poland, I guess, next week,’ he said Monday in Biarritz at the G7 summit.
He boasted that he’d also travel to Berlin in the near future at the invitation of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
His second planned visit to Warsaw, the U.S. president has reveled in the reception his 2017 visit to the nation and a speech he delivered had received.
‘I have a lot of respect for Poland. And, as you know, the people of Poland like me, and I like them. And I’m going to be going to Poland fairly soon,’ he said in early August. ‘And I know they’re building an installation that — and they’re putting in all of the money — 100 percent of the money. So they’re building something very nice for the United States to have.’
He was referring to a military base the Polish government hopes will be the site of a permanent U.S. military presence. Warsaw is also planning to purchase more than a dozen F-35 fighter jets and other military equipment from the United States for the base that was dubbed ‘Fort Trump’ in a ploy to get the American leader’s attention.
For a time, the outreach seemed to have the intended effect – Trump even offered Duda a flyover demonstration on a visit to the White House in June.
But the leader appeared to sour on Europe after a three-day visit to France for the conference that he complained every day of the summit was being misconstrued by media.
Faced with the prospect of joining world leaders again at an outdoor ceremony, where a shift in the weather could send rain his way, Trump punted to Pence, repeating a maneuver he’s pulled in the past.
Trump also sent the VP to a summit in 2018 he at the last minute decided to skip.
This time, the president said it was to receive updates on a destructive hurricane.
In comments that were skewered by his political enemies as insensitive, the U.S. president griped earlier in the week that Puerto Rico, a territory that’s been pulverized by severe storms, has sucked up so much relief money.
He changed his tune after he came under attack, promising every available resource to the island whose residents are U.S. citizens.