US President Donald Trump has made a decision to skip his plans to travel to South America to oversee the US' response to a chemical weapons attack in Syria, the White House announced on Tuesday.
Vice-president Mike Pence will attend the summit in his place, but will not go to Colombia, said White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
Pence's deputy chief of staff, Jarrod Agen, said in a statement that Pence is "honored" to attend the summit, adding that previous year he "traveled to the region to meet with the presidents of Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Panama to increase the pressure against the Maduro regime and negotiate better trade deals that benefit American workers".
The development also comes a day after the FBI raided the office of Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, based on information amassed in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election. The president has been publicly fuming ever since news broke.
Still, the administration maintains that the decision to swap was a matter of global security.
"In our world, we can't let that happen, especially when we're able to - because of the power of the United States, because of the power of our country - we're able to stop it", Trump told reporters before a meeting with senior military leadership.
On Saturday, dozens of Syrians were killed in an alleged chemical attack in the city of Douma.
Further details including the timing of possible retaliatory efforts remain uncertain.
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