The trouble started before they even took office. In the second presidential debate last year, ABC News’ Martha Raddatz reminded Donald Trump that Mike Pence, his own running mate, said in the context of a discussion about U.S. policy in Syria, that “provocations by Russia need to be met with American strength.” In an unusual display, Trump denounced the position.
In fact, the Republican nominee said of Pence, “He and I haven’t spoken, and I disagree. I disagree.”
The embarrassing moment came to mind this week, when Mike Pence declared that when it comes to U.S. policy towards Russia, the Trump administration and Congress are “speaking with a unified voice.” Yesterday, Trump himself publicly rejected this positioning, insisting that it’s Americans in Congress, not Vladimir Putin, who deserve the blame for the deteriorating relationship between the two countries.
And that got me thinking: does the vice president ever get tired of the president contradicting him in public?
On health care, Pence encouraged Senate Republicans to pass a “repeal and delay” bill that repealed the Affordable Care Act now and then created a two-year window to come up with some kind of conservative alternative. Five days later, Trump pushed in a completely different direction, pressing GOP lawmakers to instead pass a “repeal and replace” proposal.
On North Korea, Pence has rejected the idea of direct bilateral talks. Trump, on the other hand, has said he’s “absolutely” prepared to talk with Kim Jong Un, adding he’d be “honored” to meet with the North Korean dictator.
On the Trump-Russia scandal, Pence said Trump didn’t fire James Comey over the investigation, only to watch Trump say the opposite soon after.
The next time the vice president makes a declaration, and you’re not sure whether to believe him, give it a few days. His boss may have some thoughts to share on the matter.