Right now, the GOP is starting to wonder if the Trump and Pence ticket ever actually discuss what they’ll do, once they’re in the White House (IF they get to the White House).
While they’re making their pitch to the public, the GOP is wondering which one to believe on policy. In particular, foreign policy, since they seem to have divergent views.
“I think Mike Pence cheered a lot of Republican conservatives who have been pretty gloomy until last night by forcefully articulating a case for conservative internationalism and strong U.S. leadership in Europe and the Middle East as well as rebuilding the military,” Eric Edelman, a former undersecretary of defense for policy in the George W. Bush administration, said Wednesday.
“Too bad that those very principles have been consistently undermined by the person with whom he is running at the top of the ticket. Honestly, I am not sure what it means other than that Mike Pence is what he has always been: a voice for a tough-minded, Reaganesque approach to national security,” added Edelman, one among dozens of former Republican foreign policy insiders to have publicly declared that they cannot vote for Trump.
Trump’s man-crush for Russian President Vladimir Putin, for starters, has set many GOP faithful on edge.
In fact, when dealing in foreign policy, the issue of Syria and Russian involvement in the area are of particular importance. Russian interests in the area work exactly opposite of American interests, yet, Trump has expressed a willingness to step back and allow Russia the upper hand in the region.
He maybe should have talked that over with his VP.
The Indiana governor ridiculed Putin as “the small and bullying Russian leader” and argued that the U.S. should create “safe zones” to protect Syrian civilians and “be prepared to use military force” against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
“Trump has been openly contemptuous of positions Pence was taking,” said Matthew Waxman, a senior Bush State Department and Pentagon official now at Columbia Law School. “Maybe this was intended to placate mainstream Republicans who are offended by Trump’s positions or ignorance. But there’s no reason to expect that Pence would have any real effect on a Trump foreign policy.”
“This is not just an issue of politics but of national security. That Trump and his running mate can’t even tell a consistent story on the most significant foreign policy challenges shows that a Trump administration would be unable to communicate effectively with adversaries and allies,” added Waxman, who has also declared he cannot vote for Trump.
And this is correct. Why are Trump and Pence not collaborating on this? Shouldn’t this have been something they discussed and came to an agreement on, even before Pence was picked as VP?
If Trump’s pro-Russia views are genuine, and if Pence truly meant what he said, then they are on opposite sides of the fence and national security officials, as well as voters have every right to be concerned.
Trump has consistently argued that the U.S. should try to cooperate with, not confront, Moscow. “I’m not going to tell Putin what to do. Why would I tell him what to do?” Trump said in late July. “Why do I have to get tough on Putin?”
His admiration for Putin is rooted in Putin’s apparent praise of him, which is also a big issue. Trump will base his reaction to world leaders not on policy, but on how leaders refer to him in the media.
His ego would be our downfall.
“I think I would have a very, very good relationship with Putin,” Trump said at a September candidate forum. “And I think I would have a very, very good relationship with Russia.”
Trump has further stated that he would stay out of Syria, which, again, puts he and Pence on opposite sides, as Pence’s solution would likely call for military action.
Meanwhile, Pence and Trump continue to insist they’re simpatico, on all the fronts that matter.
They’re obviously not, and if this is how poorly communication goes between them, there really needs to be a long conversation about compatibility.