President Donald Trump canceled his trip to the Summit of the Americas on Tuesday, other members of his administration have also canceled trips planned for this week.
“President Trump will not attend the 8th Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru or travel to Bogota, Colombia as originally scheduled,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement Tuesday. “The President will remain in the United States to oversee the American response to Syria and to monitor developments around the world.”
Wednesday, Homeland Security Director Kirstjen Nielsen suddenly canceled her planned trip to the U.S. – Mexico border, according to a DHS spokesman. Nielson is to remain in Washington to attend “meetings at the White House.” No other details were offered.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis canceled his planned appearances at the San Fransisco Commonwealth Club on Saturday and Stanford University on Monday.
“The event with Secretary Mattis has been postponed. We are working with the Pentagon to reschedule,” Stanford spokeswoman Katy Gabel said Monday in an email.
No reason has been publicly offered by the administration and the Commonwealth Club didn’t have much to offer saying only that the Secretary’s cancelation was “due to changes in the secretary’s travel plans,” in an online advertisement of his appearance.
“We don’t know anything more than that,” John Zipperer, the Commonwealth Club’s vice president of media and editorial, said Monday.
Mattis and Trump’s cancelations could be due to events in Syria, but DHS wouldn’t typically be so directly involved in diplomatic or foreign military operations.
Acting Secretary of State John Sullivan is attending the 8th Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru along with Vice President Mike Pence. He is scheduled to be there until the summit ends on Saturday, according to the press office of the Department of State and there do not appear to be plans to interrupt the trip.
The reason for the abrupt cancelations is not clear. Why does the president need DHS and DoD for the next several days?
The only involvement DHS has had with Syria is the extension in January of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Syrians.
“After carefully considering conditions on the ground, I have determined that it is necessary to extend the Temporary Protected Status designation for Syria,” said Secretary Nielsen. “It is clear that the conditions upon which Syria’s designation was based continue to exist, therefore an extension is warranted under the statute. We will continue to determine each country’s TPS status on a country-by-country basis.”