President Obama is cutting short his scheduled four-nation trip to Asia due to the government shutdown, the White House said Wednesday.
Mr. Obama pulled out of visits to Malaysia and the Philippines on the trip that is to begin this weekend. He called Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and President Beningo Aquino of the Phillpines late Tuesday night to inform them.
A spokeswoman for Mr. Najib’s office said: “Obama expressed his disappointment that he was unable to visit Malaysia as scheduled.”
The White House said the Malaysian leader “expressed his understanding.”
The president is due to leave this weekend to travel to Indonesia and Brunei, and to hold summit meetings with various officials. That portion of the trip is still a go, for now. It would be Mr. Obama’s third visit as president to Indonesia, where he grew up as a boy.
The about-face came less than 12 hours after presidential aides said Mr. Obama planned to complete the entire trip, in spite of the shutdown.
Secretary of State John F. Kerry will travel to Manila and will lead a U.S. delegation to Kuala Lumpur in Mr. Obama’s place, the White House said. Mr. Kerry will deliver a speech on Oct. 11 in Malaysia that Mr. Obama was to have delivered.