Vice President Mike Pence addressed European leaders with a promise of U.S. support of NATO and holding an aggressive Russia accountable for its actions, leading some to wonder if Donald Trump and Pence are at odds on policy issues.
Mike Pence attempted to reassure European leaders at the summit, vowing “the United States will continue to hold Russia accountable, even as we search for new common ground which, as you know, President Trump believes can be found,” reports ABC.
Pence also claimed that U.S. support for NATO will continue, despite remarks from President Trump during his presidential campaign declaring NATO to be obsolete. On the other hand, Pence reiterated the stance of the Trump administration regarding monetary support for NATO, noting that many of the NATO members do not appear to have a clear way to pay for their fair share of the international military organization.
The promised commitment is 2 percent of a nation’s GDP for defense, and according to CNN, Pence stated that “The President of the United States expects our allies to keep their word, fulfill this commitment, and for most that means the time has come to do more.”
These remarks come shortly after Russia initiated another test of the Trump administration, sending a warship into waters just 30 miles off the U.S. coast, not far from a major submarine base. In addition, Russian fighters buzzed a U.S. naval destroyer while it was conducting operations in the Black Sea region. So far, the Trump administration has done nothing more than comment on these incidents, with no definitive retribution enacted thus far.
Mike Pence’s claims regarding keeping Russia accountable for its actions and his expressed support for NATO appear to be at odds with the way Donald Trump has handled interactions with that country.
More importantly, this could signal yet more infighting with the Trump administration, where several top aides and advisers reportedly fail to get along. With the firing/resignation of national security adviser Michael Flynn over conversations he had with the Russian ambassador before Trump’s inauguration, the apparent conflict of support between Trump and Pence could lead to further divides within the White House.
One significant example of the apparent disarray is the conflicts between press secretary Sean Spicer and top aide Kellyanne Conway, where a number of times Spicer has had to release info contradicting something Conway said or claimed.
Senator John McCain, a former presidential candidate against Barack Obama, announced the claims of confusion within the White House.
“I think that the Flynn issue obviously is something that shows that in many respects this administration is in disarray and they’ve got a lot of work to do,” reports Newsweek. “The president, I think, makes statements (and) on other occasions contradicts himself. So we’ve learned to watch what the president does as opposed to what he says.”
Russia responded to Pence’s remarks to the European leaders at the same security summit, claiming the West’s dominance in world affairs was at an end.
Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, also stressed the importance of NATO to the United States, claiming the need to maintain and enhance current trans-Atlantic treaties.
France requested that Pence clarify the administration’s stance on the European Union as well, noting that Trump had expressed approval over Brexit, when Great Britain voted to leave the EU. Pence inferred that Trump would address the issue when he meets with other world leaders at a summit in Brussels next week.
So what are your thoughts about the apparent conflicts within the White House? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by Johannes Simon/Getty Images]