DUBLIN — Irish officials were surprised two weeks ago to learn that President Trump planned to stop by their country in November when he visited France.
On Tuesday, they were surprised to learn that he might not.
By the end of the day, no one seemed quite certain whether they should be readying for a presidential visit or carrying on with their normal course of business.
Early Tuesday, the Irish prime minister’s office said that the visit had been postponed “for scheduling reasons.” The announcement came after some confusion in which the Irish government appeared caught off guard by news reports that it had been canceled. Initially, it was unable to confirm or deny the reports.
The Irish government had no information as to why the visit has been put off — if, indeed, it has been. The Foreign Ministry referred reporters seeking more information to the White House.
But in Washington, little information was to be had. Officials there confirmed only that the Paris leg of Mr. Trump’s trip was still on.
“The president will travel to Paris in November as previously announced,” the White House spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, told reporters. “We are still finalizing whether Ireland will be a stop on that trip. As details are confirmed we will let you know.”
Mr. Trump had been expected to visit Ireland either before or after a trip to Paris to attend a military parade commemorating the hundredth anniversary of the end of World War I. When the visit was announced by the White House, Prime Minister Leo Varadkar of Ireland told state radio it had come “a little bit out of the blue.”
Mr. Trump was expected to pay a brief visit to Dublin en route to his golf resort in Doonbeg, in the west of Ireland.
As the first reports emerged that the visit was off, The Irish Times, citing “senior sources” in government, reported that the itinerary had shifted repeatedly since it was announced on Aug. 31. The first indications that it might not go ahead were received only on Tuesday morning, the newspaper reported.
A postponement of the visit — if confirmed — would most likely be welcomed, if quietly, by an Irish government torn between the traditional open invitation to any American president and fear of the disruption a visit by Mr. Trump might bring.
“There will be a big sigh of relief in the taoiseach’s office and Iveagh House, and an even bigger sigh of relief in Garda headquarters,” said Noel Whelan, a political commentator, referring to the offices of the prime minister, the foreign ministry and the police force. “It would have been a security nightmare, dealing with large and colorful protests, and I know that they were hoping to confine most of his visit to the midwest to keep him away from the crowds.”
Mr. Trump is widely unpopular with an Irish populace that is socially more liberal than much of the president’s American base, Mr. Whelan explained.
As a small island nation, Ireland also believes strongly in multinational institutions like the European Union and United Nations. A visit by the president would probably little resemble those of predecessors like John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, who were exuberantly welcomed in Ireland.
“The Irish on the whole are left of center and Democratic in terms of U.S. politics, even if Irish-Americans no longer are to the same extent,” Mr. Whelan said.
Condemnations of Mr. Trump’s policies have come from across the Irish political spectrum. Speaking just hours before news of the postponement, the leader of the opposition, Micheal Martin, said that the president was welcome to visit Ireland, but that he would not object if members of his Fianna Fail party wanted to protest against the visit.
“We don’t agree with the policies of President Trump at all,” Mr. Martin said, citing in particular his recent decision to cut funding to Palestinian refugees.
It has also not gone without notice that after nearly two years in office, Mr. Trump has failed to appoint a new ambassador to Dublin.
Nevertheless, Mr. Varadkar told state radio last week that Mr. Trump would be welcome.
“The relationship between Ireland and the U.S. is so strong and so important, much more important than any Irish government or any U.S. administration,” he said. “I think we have to treat his office with the respect it deserves.”
Peter Baker contributed reporting from Washington.