President Trump said Thursday that he was canceling his planned weekend trip to Poland, and will send Vice President Pence instead, because a major hurricane appears headed toward Florida.
“It is very important for me to be here,” Trump said at the start of a White House Rose Garden ceremony. “The storm looks like it could be a very, very big one indeed.”
Hurricane Dorian, which already has caused flooding and wind damage in parts of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, is expected to make landfall on Florida’s Atlantic coast on Monday, though its path could shift.
Trump had been scheduled fly to Warsaw on Saturday and spend two nights there. He was expected to participate in a ceremony commemorating the 80th anniversary of the German invasion of Poland that marked the start of World War II.
Trump has embraced closer ties with Poland and its right-wing government, and he said Thursday that he will reschedule his trip. He already has visited Poland once, and Polish President Andrzej Duda visited the White House on June 12.
The trip was expected to focus in part on deepening security ties. The Pentagon plans to deploy an additional 1,000 troops to Poland, bolstering a force of about 4,500 already there.
The president’s ill-fated trip already had drawn controversy when he abruptly scrubbed a planned state visit to Denmark, which was scheduled to take place after he left Poland.
Trump canceled that leg of the trip after Denmark’s prime minister brushed off his interest in purchasing Greenland, a semi-autonomous Danish territory, calling the notion “absurd.” Trump later called her comments “nasty.”