Vice President Mike Pence’s office has responded to an Associated Press report claiming he delayed his trip to Israel for the second time in the last several weeks.
Citing an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, the AP reported Monday the visit was no longer on the ministry’s schedule for January.
“It’s not on our schedule,” Emmanuel Nahshon said, while noting that it was possible Pence could still decide to travel to the country. “We can always adapt it and change it.”
But Pence’s press secretary, Alyssa Farah, pushed back on the AP’s claim that the visit had been postponed again.
“This report is false. The VP is still going to Israel as planned,” she tweeted.
Jarrod Agen, the vice president’s chief of staff, echoed her statement.
“As we said, we are going later this month,” Agen said.
He did not provide a specific date, though he did note that Pence also planned to visit Egypt.
After postponing a trip to the Middle East last month, Pence was scheduled to visit Israel during the week of January 14.
As previously reported by The Western Journal, Pence was originally planning to go to Israel in December.
However, the trip was canceled late.
The official reason for the delay was the Senate vote on the GOP-led tax bill, which Congress scrambled to push through prior to Christmas.
In case of a deadlock in the Senate, Pence would have been able to cast the tie-breaking vote.
But the delay also came soon after President Donald Trump announced that U.S. will officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, with plans to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to the historic city.
Although the president’s decision was lauded by supporters of the Jewish state, it also resulted in increased hostility toward Israel and the U.S. throughout the Middle East.
As reported by the AP, the Palestinians are seeking east Jerusalem as their capital, and canceled a pre-Christmas meeting with Pence in Bethlehem in protest of the president’s decision.
Likewise, in Egypt, Muslim and Christian clerics are reportedly refusing to meet with the vice president during his planned visit to Cairo.
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