Administration

Pence met with silence after mentioning Trump in Munich speech

Vice President Pence was met with silence on Friday when he mentioned President Trump at a security conference in Munich.

“I bring greetings from the 45th president of the United States of America, Donald Trump,” Pence said, before being met with a lengthy silence. 

Pence traveled to Germany this week for the annual Munich Security Conference along with a bipartisan delegation, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Christopher Coons (D-Del.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).

The vice president spoke at an award ceremony on Friday for the first recipients of a scholarship commemorating the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who attended the conference numerous times.

In remarks on Friday, Pence knocked NATO allies who he said “still need to do more.”{mosads}

“The United States expects every NATO member to put in place a credible plan to meet the 2 percent threshold. And, by 2024, we expect all our allies to invest 20 percent of defense spending on procurement,” he said.

NATO members agreed in 2014 to move toward spending at least 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense by 2024.

The Trump administration has been openly critical of NATO, arguing that the U.S. contributes disproportionately to fund the group and, subsequently, protecting other countries that pay less. Members contribute toward defense spending in their respective budgets to fund NATO.

The New York Times reported last month that Trump indicated multiple times last year that he wanted the U.S. to withdraw from NATO.

Pence on Friday also blasted China and Russia in front of delegations from both countries

“Under President Trump’s leadership, the United States has also made it clear that China must address the longstanding issues of intellectual-property theft, forced technology transfer, and other structural issues in China that have placed a burden on our economy and on economies around the world,” he said.

Pence later noted the U.S.’s move to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The decision to withdraw has triggered questions about the potential impact on European security and the global strategic environment amid weakened U.S.–Russia relations.

Tags Christopher Coons Donald Trump John McCain Lindsey Graham Mike Pence Nancy Pelosi Sheldon Whitehouse

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