Donald Trump officials halt travel on worry over White House chaos

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Washington: Top US officials abruptly cancelled international travel this week out of concern foreign adversaries could exploit a historic political crisis and that President Donald Trump and his White House are under too much strain to contend with them, according to multiple people with direct knowledge of the situation.

One day after the State Department said Secretary of State Michael Pompeo would travel to Belgium – and just before US Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft was due to depart for Taiwan – the department announced on Tuesday that all travel by senior officials was cancelled.

The State Department cited the need to help with the transition to President-elect Joe Biden’s administration, but it came just days after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin cut his travels in the Mideast short to return to Washington. The people, who all spoke on condition of anonymity, said the cancellations were fuelled by concern among top officials that the White House is too chaotic following the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the US Capitol.

Pompeo consulted on the decision to cancel official travel with fellow Cabinet members, including Vice President Mike Pence, NSA Robert O’Brien and Acting Defence Secretary Christopher Miller, and none of them disagreed with the change, the people said.

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