Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Sunday publicly disagreed with his vice-presidential running mate Mike Pence on how the United States should deal with the ongoing civil war in Syria, exposing cracks in the partnership.
During the second presidential debate held at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, debate moderator Martha Raddatz asked Trump what his stand would be on “Syria and the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo” if he were president.
The moderator also reminded Trump that his running mate Pence, at the vice-presidential debate last week, had said “provocations need to be met with American strength, and if Russia continues to be involved along with the Syrian forces, the United States of America should be prepared to use military force to strike the military targets of the Assad regime.”
To this, Trump responded: “He and I haven’t spoken, and I disagree.”
“Syria is no longer Syria,” he said, rejecting the Indiana governor’s position on the humanitarian crisis in the Middle Eastern nation. “I believe we have to get ISIS. We have to worry about ISIS before we can get too much more involved.”
The Republican campaign has been under considerable pressure because of contradictory statements by the presidential and vice-presidential nominees. At the debate between Pence and Democratic vice-presidential nominee Tim Kaine last week, the Republican called out Russian President Vladimir Putin for supporting Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria. Trump, on the other hand, has repeatedly praised Putin for his role as a political leader.
“The small and bullying leader of Russia is now dictating terms to the United States,” Pence said last week, differing from the construction mogul’s stand.
Pence did not mince his words when he called out his running mate over the 2005 videotape that was released recently, showing Trump making lewd comments about women.
Saying that he “cannot defend” the comments made in the tape, Pence issued a statement: “As a husband and father, I was offended by the words and actions described by Donald Trump.”
However, following Sunday’s debate, Pence tweeted his support for Trump in what he called “a big debate win.”