Pence went on Fox News Sunday, and host Chris Wallace grilled him over President Donald Trump‘s refusal to inform Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi about the operation.
During a press conference announcing that U.S. special forces had killed al-Baghdadi, the president revealed to reporters that he had not informed Pelosi about the raid, explaining that he didn’t want any information to leak, and that he wanted to “make sure that no American forces were lost.”
According to Wallace, the president clearly implied in his statement that the top Democrat cannot be trusted with sensitive information.
“Does the president not trust the Speaker of the House with sensitive national security information?” Wallace asked Pence.
The vice president pushed back against the anchor’s argument.
“I don’t think that was the implication at all,” he said.
Pence insisted that Trump’s main goal was to carry out the mission successfully, seemingly trying to change the topic of the conversation.
Wallace continued grilling the vice president, however, insisting that he provide an answer.
“I understand that, but why didn’t he tell Nancy Pelosi?” he asked.
“We maintained the tightest possible security here,” Pence replied, adding that he is “proud” of everyone involved.
Once again, Wallace insisted that his guest answer the question.
“We all applaud that, I do want to ask you though, it’s my job as a news man sir, respectfully, why didn’t the president notify the Speaker of the House?” Wallace inquired.
Pence refused to directly answer the question, pivoting to talk about the mission itself. The vice president insisted that Trump’s “focus” was that everything went accordingly.
The revelation that Pelosi was not briefed about the details of the al-Baghdadi mission is not the only reason the media is describing Trump’s press conference as “striking.”
During the briefing, the president made a number of shocking claims. He bragged about supposedly predicting the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, insisting that he had written about Osama bin Laden in one of this books.
Trump told reporters that he warned about the threat bin Laden poses, foreshadowing the September 11 attacks, and complained that no one listened to him. Had officials listened to him, according to Trump, “lot of things would have been different.”
Trump also made sure to describe al-Baghdadi’s death in great detail, using colorful language.
The president also suggested that the elimination of the leader of the Islamic State is more significant than the elimination of bin Laden, who was taken out during Barack Obama’s presidency.