- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 31, 2017

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - President Donald Trump canceled an expected speech on the economy in Milwaukee on Thursday, without saying why or if he will reschedule. The trip would have been one of his first outside of Washington since taking office.

Tech. Sgt. Meghan Skrepenski with the 128th Air Refueling Wing of the Air National Guard in Milwaukee confirmed Tuesday that the visit had been canceled. She said she had no information on why it was called off.

Trump was also slated to meet with business leaders while in Wisconsin. When the White House gave word on Monday that Trump planned to travel to the battleground state he won in November, a group called the Milwaukee Coalition Against Trump quickly organized a protest. According to its Facebook page, by late Tuesday afternoon 1,200 people were planning to attend a protest with another 4,500 interested.

A White House spokeswoman denied that any protest was behind the change in plans.

“Due to scheduling, the leadership he was potentially traveling to meet with is now coming here,” said deputy press secretary Stephanie Grisham.

But large anti-Trump protests have been a recurring theme of the first weeks of his presidency. Millions demonstrated across the globe in a series of women’s marches the day after Trump was sworn in, and this past weekend thousands more protested at the nation’s biggest international airports after the president’s executive order restricting travelers from seven Muslim majority nations from entering the U.S.

Gov. Scott Walker’s spokesman, Tom Evenson, said he didn’t have any information about why the trip was not happening or if it would be rescheduled. Walker met with Trump in the White House on Saturday and is close with his chief of staff Reince Priebus, who previously was head of the Wisconsin Republican Party, as well as House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Walker is the head of the Republican Governors Association and a former rival of Trump’s for the GOP presidential nomination who later got behind Trump as the GOP nominee.

Trump was the first Republican presidential candidate to win Wisconsin since Ronald Reagan in 1984. He repeatedly visited the state in the final weeks of the campaign and captured it by approximately 22,000 votes as part of his sweep of battleground Rust Belt states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Trump also made a stop in Wisconsin last month during his so-called “thank you” tour to salute supporters in key states.

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Lemire reported from New York.

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Reach Bauer on Twitter at http://twitter.com/@sbauerAP and Lemire at http://twitter.com/@JonLemire

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