Mike Pence may have expected a round of applause when he told members at an international security conference in Munich that he brought greetings from President Donald Trump, but instead his remarks were met with total silence.
The awkward moment from Pence’s visit to the security conference was captured on video and is gaining some viral interest online, showing not a single one of the attendees reacting to Pence passing along Trump’s greetings.
As the Hill noted, Pence was attending the Munich Security Conference with a bipartisan delegation that included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham. Pence was invited to speak at a ceremony for recipients of a scholarship commemorating John McCain, who frequently attended the conference. Though Pence and McCain worked together in the Senate, Donald Trump was a frequent critic of McCain and continued to level attacks even after McCain’s death last year.
In his remarks, Pence echoed Donald Trump’s criticism of NATO allies for what Trump saw as a failure to properly commit to the alliance.
“The United States expects every NATO member to put in place a credible plan to meet the 2 percent threshold. And, by 2024, we expect all our allies to invest 20 percent of defense spending on procurement,” he said.
This is not the first time that Donald Trump has been snubbed on the international stage. When Trump addressed the United Nations last year, he made a boast that his administration had accomplished more in two years than “almost any administration” in American history and was met with a round of laughter from the international leaders in attendance.
Trump, who frequently claimed that America had become the laughingstock of the world under Barack Obama, seemed startled by the laughter aimed at his boast.
“Didn’t expect that reaction,” he said, “but that’s okay.”
Experts said it was the reaction that Trump seemed to fear the most.
German Chancellor Merkel received a standing ovation after a speech rejecting U.S. demands that European allies pull out of the Iran nuclear deal. Russia's foreign minister, a high-ranking Chinese official and Ivanka Trump pointedly stayed in their seats. https://t.co/QnUnaLi4Cw— The New York Times (@nytimes) February 16, 2019
“He has always been obsessed that people are laughing at the president. From the mid-’80s, he’s said: ‘The world is laughing at us. They think we’re fools,'” Thomas Wright, a Europe analyst at the Brookings Institution, told the Washington Post at the time. “It’s never been true, but he’s said it about every president. It’s the first time I’m aware of that people actually laughed at a president. I think it is going to drive him absolutely crazy. It will play to every insecurity he has.
While Mike Pence passed along the president’s greetings, Donald Trump was a few thousand miles away, golfing at his company’s course in Florida.