President Donald Trump has canceled a scheduled trip to Wisconsin out of concern that his presence would be the target of protesters angered by his immigration order barring citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.
The cancellation, in just the second week of Trump’s tenure, underscored the torrent of opposition that has greeted his presidency, starting with a gathering of hundreds of thousands in Washington on the day after his inauguration and two days of demonstrations across the country this past weekend against his travel ban.
Presidents have canceled trips for weather and after tragic events, but a cancellation for fear of protests is rare, if not unprecedented.
Brookings Institution senior fellow William Galston said he could not recall a similar cancellation dating back to Ronald Reagan and possibly longer ago. “I remember all the protests, and I’m not sure there has been an incident” that caused a cancellation, Galston said.
An administration official told CNN that the plans were canceled after the Harley Davidson factory in Milwaukee, which Trump was scheduled to visit, grew uncomfortable with the threat of protests. Nearly 1,300 people said they planned to attend the protest and another 4,600 said they were interested, according to the Facebook page of the Milwaukee Coalition Against Trump.
The Democratic National Committee used the cancellation to slam Trump. “Donald Trump is a real tough guy when it comes to locking up a scared five-year-old boy trying to find his mother,” said DNC Senior Adviser Zac Petkanas. “But as soon as he has to face the American people to defend his illegal anti-Muslim ban he chickens out. What a profile in courage.”