Mike Pence seemingly has a case of Stockholm Syndrome.
During a round of television interviews early Monday, Donald Trump’s vice-presidential pick attempted to move on from one of the most calamitous weekends of the campaign, brushing off a disgusting Trump tape revealing insinuations of sexual assault and denying that he had ever considered abandoning the ticket.
“It’s absolutely false to suggest that at any point in time we considered dropping off this ticket,” Pence said on CNN. “It’s the greatest honor of my life to have been nominated by my party to be the next vice president of the United States of America.”
To make a bad weekend worse, Trump dismissed Pence’s plan on Syria during a lurid and rage-filled town hall-style debate on Sunday night.
“He and I haven’t spoken, and he and I disagree,” Trump said when asked whether he agreed with Pence’s backing of the possible use of U.S. military force against Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Pence said just that during a vice-presidential debate last week.
But when first asked Monday about this seemingly obvious difference of opinion, Pence demurred and said the two men shared the same plan.
“Frankly, I’ve got a lot of respect for Martha Raddatz but she just misrepresented the statement that I made in my national debate,” Pence said blaming one of the moderators last night.
“The question I had—and you can check the transcript and so can your viewers—was about the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo and what we ought to do,” Pence continued. “Donald Trump’s position, our position has been that we need to establish safe zones and you need to be willing to use resources, and including military power, to secure those safe zones and allow those people, including 100,000 children to be able to evacuate.”
Pence went on to say that Raddatz conflated that with general military intervention during her question last night.
But in reality, their answers couldn’t have been more different. In the vice-presidential debate, Pence did in fact talk about safe zones but he won’t go on to explicitly discuss military intervention from the United States.
“I truly do believe that what America ought to do right now is immediately establish safe zones, so that families and vulnerable families with children can move out of those areas, work with our Arab partners, real time, right now, to make that happen,” Pence said last week.
“And secondly, I just have to tell you that the provocations by Russia need to be met with American strength. And if Russia chooses to be involved and continue, I should say, to be involved in this barbaric attack on civilians in Aleppo, the United States of America should be prepared to use military force to strike military targets of the Assad regime to prevent them from this humanitarian crisis that is taking place in Aleppo.”
Last night, Trump was asked what he would do about Syria and the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo.
“I don’t like Assad at all, but Assad is killing ISIS,” Trump said, slightly misrepresenting the facts. “Russia is killing ISIS. And Iran is killing ISIS. And those three have now lined up because of our weak foreign policy.”
It’s pretty clear from the vice-presidential debate that Pence is well-equipped to deny things that actually happened.
It’s just harder to do when there’s video evidence.