Acting Pentagon chief cancels overseas trip, cites Venezuela

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has abruptly canceled plans to travel to Europe. Shanahan’s spokesman is citing the crisis in Venezuela and the situation along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The spokesman, Lt. Col. Joe Buccino, says in a statement that Shanahan decided he should remain in Washington to coordinate with the National Security Council and the State Department on Venezuela and the border, where the military is assisting the Homeland Security Department with the migrant crisis.

The Pentagon has thus far played no direct role in Venezuela.

Buccino’s statement came just three hours after the Pentagon had publicly announced Shanahan’s trip to Germany, Belgium and England.

Shanahan was going to attend ceremonies in Germany and Belgium marking the change of commanders for U.S. European Command and NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe.

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