Politics

Pence Office Schedules Dinner with Peru's President — But Which One?

Veep pinch-hits for POTUS south of the border

Vice President Mike Pence will have dinner in Peru Friday night, but with whom caused some confusion, at least according to his schedule. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Vice President Mike Pence, pinch-hitting for his boss on a summit in South America, will dine Friday night with Peru’s president. But whether he’ll break bread with the current one or the one who resigned last month was initially unclear.

President Donald Trump announced earlier this week he was skipping the “Summit of the Americas” to remain in Washington to oversee his administration’s response to a chemical weapons attack in Syria.

Pence departed Friday morning. The night before, his office released a schedule that showed him attending a “banquet” hosted by President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski of Peru in Lima.

The affair sounds swanky. But Kuczynski won’t be hosting it and almost certainly won’t be in attendance.

He resigned in late March amid a corruption scandal involving Latin America’s largest construction company. Given Trump’s frequent boasting about being a “builder,” the irony of the mistake and nature of the scandal is sure to elicit a few chuckles after another long week in Washington.

A quick Internet search turns up a long list of articles about his resignation.

The Friday night soire will instead be hosted by the sitting president of Peru, Martin Vizcarra, Kuczynski’s vice president who took over after he stepped down.

For a White House whose first 16 months have been chock full of self-inflicted wounds, the blunder came amid another whirlwind week that included threatened Syria strikes, speculation Trump will fire senior Justice Department officials, and the president's lashing out at former FBI Director James Comey.

And then there's how the mistake will be viewed in a region that, to be diplomatic, views Trump and Pence — given their immigration policies and tough talk about countries there — suspiciously.

Awkward.

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