President Trump has canceled a planned trip to Ireland, the Irish government said Tuesday, amid planned demonstrations to protest his climate policies, global relations and treatment of immigrants, women and minorities.
Many officials in the Irish government "were definitely not looking forward to Trump's visit and were planning a low-key program mostly out of sight of the public as there is a lot of antipathy (in Ireland) towards Trump", the diplomatic source said.
However, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that Mr. Trump's schedule for his trip to Europe was not yet settled. "We are still finalizing whether Ireland will be a stop on that trip", she said.
In an apparent communication breakdown, representatives of the Irish government said it was their understanding that Trump's schedule would not permit a visit in November.
Varadkar said then that Trump's decision to accept an open invitation "came a little bit out of the blue".
He had originally been invited by former taoiseach Enda Kelly on his final St. Patrick's Day visit to the White House past year, an offer that was reiterated by Mr Varadkar last March. "As details are confirmed, we will notify you about it", Sanders said.
Trump had been expected to visit Dublin, the Irish capital, as well as a golf course he owns in Doonberg, County Clare on Ireland's west coast.
The government in Dublin confirmed in a statement that "the proposed visit of the US president is postponed".
The announcement of his planned visit came as a surprise when first revealed ten days ago, and was set to attract strong levels of protests.
Brendan Howlin, the leader of the Irish Labour Party, accused Trump of being "no friend of democracy and human rights" in an August 31 tweet calling on people to join anti-Trump protests.
Two Independent Alliance ministers - Finian McGrath and John Halligan - had also pledged to take part in any public demonstrations during the visit.
At the time, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's spokesperson was unable to confirm that Mr Trump was no longer coming.
The brief trip to Ireland was scheduled to take place as he made his way home from Armistice Day commemorations in France on November 11.