Leaders of some of the world’s most influential – or controversial – countries skipped Donald Trump’s debut at the United Nations rather than face the prospect of being caught up in an embarrassing controversy by the unpredictable U.S. president.
The list of state leaders missing the international event is long and growing. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping are two of the highest profile absences. But there are many whose faces were noticeably absent during Trump’s aggressive speech Tuesday on confronting North Korea, terrorism and communism, including Germany’s Angela Merkel, England’s Theresa May, Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro and Mexico’s Enrique Peña Nieto.
Diplomats say they’ve learned it can be risky to share the spotlight with Trump, who can turn even the most well-intentioned exchange into an international spectacle, such as his notorious call with the Australian prime minister about refugees or the dressing down of NATO leaders at the …