"The Vice President is honored to represent the United States at the 8 Summit of the Americas at President Trump's request", said a spokesperson for Pence in a written statement Tuesday. "The president will remain in the United States to oversee the American response to Syria and to monitor developments around the world". In that time, however, he has undertaken more distant trips to Europe, Asia and the Middle East on several occassions.
Trump vowed on Monday that the U.S. would take swift action in retaliation for the suspected chemical weapons attack on civilians in Syria on Saturday, amid hurried diplomacy that signalled allied military strikes may be imminent.
The White House made the announcement about the schedule change a day after federal agents raided the office of Trump's personal attorney.
"I'm not very surprised (with Trump's absence) because the US government really has no clear agenda for the region", he said. Trump oversaw that response from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.
"We can not allow atrocities like that", said Trump. He opened the meeting venting his outrage at the targeting of his lawyer, musing aloud about the prospect of firing the special counsel in the Russian Federation investigation, Robert S. Mueller III. "The United States isn't respected as much now ... before, whatever Americans said seemed to be the right thing - the voice of reason".
"I'm going to bet you he holds his regular schedule today", Kudlow said.
The South America tour was also supposed to include a stop over in Colombia for a face-to-face meeting with the country's leader, President Juan Manuel Santos, but some sources are saying that this will be canned altogether and not even Pence will go in Trump's place. Maduro was disinvited from the gathering last month, an unusual diplomatic break among Latin American nations that USA analysts consider a positive sign. It will be interesting to see how Vice President Pence manages the situation at the summit, and how the other countries react to him. "Nearly all matters that have linked Trump to Latin America are matters of confrontation, whether in trade or immigration", said Kahhat.
White House officials said last week that Trump was not expected to meet with Cuban leader Raúl Castro, who is attending his last such gathering before a scheduled retirement later this month.