President Donald Trump planned a surprise visit to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating North and South Korea, with Marine One but had to turn back due to fog.
Trump had made it most of the way to the DMZ before the decision was made to return to Seoul.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that Trump was disappointed not to have been able to make the trip.
“He’s actually pretty frustrated,” she said.
Sanders said the White House had been planning the visit “for a little while,” since before Trump left on his marathon Asia trip, adding that it was “something the president wanted to do.”
Just last week in a pre-Asia trip briefing, a senior White House official downplayed the idea of Trump visiting the DMZ, saying it had become ‘a little bit of a cliche’ for commanders-in-chief.
Every president but one since Ronald Reagan has made the trek. George H.W. Bush was the lone standout, but he visited the DMZ while he was vice president.
Our view from Trump's aborted trip to the DMZ. Helicopters turned back about 25 minutes into the trip due to low visibility. pic.twitter.com/ReLOpEjYLA
— Andrew Restuccia (@AndrewRestuccia) November 8, 2017
BREAKING: Heavy fog forces Trump to scrap surprise visit to the DMZ. pic.twitter.com/CtVS1S9ByP
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) November 8, 2017
President Trump, Marine One turned around 5 minutes away from DMZ "due to weather".
Weather in Korea: partly cloudy with some mist. pic.twitter.com/QKtw8ntmV0
— Jacob Wycoff (@4cast4you) November 8, 2017
The White House took unusual steps to make sure news of the unplanned side-trip didn’t leak, including a cryptic late-night message to reporters about an extra stop on Trump’s itinerary – and Sanders declining to tell them verbally where they were going once they arrived for liftoff.