Trump breaks with his running mate on Syria


“He and I haven’t spoken and I disagree.”

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump reacts to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during the second presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016. CREDIT: AP Photo/John Locher

In the second presidential debate on Sunday evening, Donald Trump let slip during an exchange on the crisis in Syria that he and his running mate hadn’t spoken about it and regardless, Trump disagreed with him. Vice presidential nominee Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN) has been more critical of Russia’s role in the conflict between the Assad regime ruling parts of Syria and ISIS and other rebel groups.

Trump has made headlines for his more complimentary and positive view of Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Asked about what he would do about the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo, Trump said that while he did not like Assad, the dictator, along with Russia and Iran are all “killing ISIS.”

Mike Pence was not interested in defending Donald Trump

“Let me repeat the question,” Martha Raddatz said. “If you were president, what would you do about Syria and the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo and I want to remind you what your running mate said. He said ‘provocations by Russia need to be met with American strength and that if Russia continues to be involved in airstrikes along with the Syrian government forces of Assad, the United States of America should be prepared to use military force to strike the military targets of the Assad regime.’”

“He and I haven’t spoken and I disagree,” Trump replied. “I disagree.”

Raddatz asked “you disagree with your running mate?”

Trump said “I think you have to knock out ISIS.” Trump went on to say that Syria is “no longer Syria” but actually Russia and Iran, and also that Obama made Iran into a strong country after it was weak because of the nuclear deal. He reiterated his desire to “get ISIS” and when asked again what he would do to prevent Aleppo from falling, said that “it basically has fallen.”

Last year, Trump said, “Let Russia fight ISIS,” but during the vice presidential debate, Pence struck a harder line on Russia and called for a no-fly zone. Trump said he supports a no-fly zone once in October 2015, but only financially.

NBC News noted that “Trump has neither advocated military force against Russia for provocative actions nor criticized Russia for its role in the humanitarian crisis in eastern Aleppo that has trapped 275,000 civilians, cutting them off from food and aid while also becoming the subject of deadly and persistent bombings.”

Pence’s Syria policy will be welcomed by Syrians, but might not be welcomed by Trump

Trump’s comment about disagreeing with Pence did not prevent Pence from tweeting his congratulations to his running mate after the debate.

Pence said Trump’s debate “win” was “big,” and that he was “proud to stand with you.”

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