WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama canceled a trip to Asia next week because of the government shutdown, the White House announced late Thursday.
Obama had already shortened the trip from four countries to two. The White House announced earlier in the week that Obama would be unable to visit Malaysia and the Philippines because the partial shutdown of the federal government was impacting personnel needed to set up the stops.
The White House had held out hope that the president could attend to economic summits in Indonesia and Brunei. But he decided to skip the entire trip to stay in Washington to continue pressing for a budget bill that would reopen the government.
“The cancellation of this trip is another consequence of the House Republicans forcing a shutdown of the government,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement. “This completely avoidable shutdown is setting back our ability to create jobs through promotion of U.S. exports and advance U.S. leadership and interests in the largest emerging region in the world.”
Obama had been due to depart Washington late Saturday night.
Secretary of State John Kerry, already on a trip to Asia, is visiting all four countries in place of the president.
The White House said the Sultan of Brunei and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Thursday night to express his regret.