As Mike Pence was shaking hands Tuesday night following his successful debate performance inside the debate hall, his surrogates flooded into a room full of reporters to tell them just how great he did.
Enter Trump’s newly minted deputy campaign manager David Bossie, who found himself in the unfortunate position of trying to reconcile Donald Trump’s position on Syria with the more robust, traditional Republican one Mike Pence promoted during the debate.
Trump, as far as we can tell, opposes American intervention in Syria to depose dictator Bashar al-Assad. In May, he told Morning Joe that the U.S. has “bigger problems than Assad” and that he would let him stay in power. He has also consistently praised Russia’s intervention in Syria to defend Assad.
It turns out his running mate might be able to help him understand.
In the debate last night, Pence argued that the U.S. military should push back against Russia’s effort there (American officials believe Russia is responsible for airstrikes on a United Nations aid convoy carrying food and medical supplies to refugees under siege in Aleppo).
“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,” he added.
That sounds... extremely different from just about everything Trump has ever said about Syria and Putin.
When a reporter asked if Trump agreed with Pence’s assessment of Putin as “small and bullying,” Bossie could only stammer.
“Um, um, I’m here to talk about, uh, uh, Gov. Pence’s performance,” he said. “I didn’t hear that exact line so I’d have to look at it.”
Then another reporter asked if Trump would back a no-fly zone in Syria, and a third asked if Trump agrees with Pence that their administration would use military force in Syria against Assad.
“You know, I’m going to have to, uh, to talk to Mr. Trump about that,” he said. “I, I, I don’t know the answer.”
Then another reporter asked how much Pence and Trump talk about foreign-policy issues.
“I’m not familiar with their conversations, I wouldn’t be able to speak to it,” Bossie replied.
Shortly after that, Bossie migrated away from the group of reporters and to another side of the room.
Bossie said he wasn’t familiar with Trump and Pence’s conversations. Maybe it’s because those conversations aren’t happening.