Payback? Donald Trump Disses Running Mate Mike Pence on Debate Stage
Donald Trump hinted at strife with running mate Mike Pence during the contentious second presidential debate Sunday evening.
On the debate stage in St. Louis, moderator Martha Raddatz asked Trump what he would do as president “about Syria and the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo.” Raddatz pointed out that Pence, the Indiana governor, told the audience in last week’s vice presidential debate that “provocations need to be met with American strength.”
In a move that pundits later called unprecedented in a presidential debate, Trump made it abundantly clear he doesn’t share Pence’s position.
“He and I haven’t spoken and I disagree,” Trump said. “Syria is no longer Syria. I believe we have to get ISIS. We have to worry about ISIS before we can get too much more involved.”
The very public disagreement struck some, like conservative commentator Bill Kristol, as Trump throwing Pence under the bus.
This was only the most recent hint of a cooling between the two running mates.
During the vice presidential debate, Pence notably did not defend Trump’s most outrageous and controversial statements.
The governor, an evangelical Catholic, then appeared to distance himself from Trump after a video surfaced Friday of Trump making lewd comments about women to Billy Bush.
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“As a husband and father, I was offended by the words and actions described by Donald Trump in the eleven-year-old video released yesterday,” Pence said in a written statement before refusing to attend a Wisconsin rally in Trump’s stead. “I do not condone his remarks and cannot defend them. I am grateful that he has expressed remorse and apologized to the American people. We pray for his family and look forward to the opportunity he has to show what is in his heart when he goes before the nation tomorrow night.”
Despite the buzz about the apparent distance between the two, the Trump campaign has already released to reporters a full schedule of campaigning for Pence this coming week. And on Sunday night, Pence himself had the last word via Twitter.
“Congrats to my running mate @realDonaldTrump on a big debate win! Proud to stand with you as we #MAGA.”