President Donald Trump on Thursday canceled his planned trip to Poland this weekend, saying he wanted to remain stateside as a potentially major hurricane takes aim at Florida.
Vice President Mike Pence will take Trump’s place in Poland, where Trump was scheduled to attend a commemoration event for the 80th anniversary of the start of World War II.
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“To ensure that all resources of the federal government are focused on the arriving storm, I have decided to send our vice president, Mike Pence, to Poland this weekend in my place,” Trump said from the White House’s Rose Garden at an event to announce the establishment of U.S. Space Command. “It’s something very important for me to be here. The storm looks like it could be a very, very big one indeed.”
Hurricane Dorian is set to batter Florida once it makes landfall sometime this weekend. The latest forecasts indicate the storm, which was only upgraded to a hurricane on Wednesday afternoon, could intensify into a Category 4 hurricane in the coming days. While the worst of Dorian appeared to have missed Puerto Rico the day before, Trump warned on Twitter Thursday that Florida should “get ready! Storm is building and will be BIG!”
“Our highest priority is the safety and security of the people in the path of the hurricane,” Trump said Thursday, adding that he plans to reschedule the trip “in the near future.”
Trump said Thursday he had spoken to Polish President Andrzej Duda to inform him of the change of plans. The decision to send Pence in Trump’s place came quite abruptly. Only three hours earlier, White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere had said Trump and Duda discussed their upcoming meetings and that Trump and the first lady were looking forward to their trip.