Monday night, after Donald Trump threw Indiana Governor Mike Pence under the bus in the presidential debate, stating that he did not agree with Pence’s position that provocations by Russia in Syria needed to be met with American strength, adding that he and Pence had never spoken about the issue, Pence stated he had never said such a thing.
In the debate, moderator Martha Raddatz asked Trump:
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 air strikes 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.
Trump responded, “OK. He and I haven’t spoken, and I disagree. I disagree.”
Raddatz, surprised, “You disagree with your running mate?”
Trump, evading the question, “I think you have to knock out ISIS.”
Later in the evening, queried by Alisyn Camerota on CNN's New Day as to Trump throwing him under the bus, Pence insisted Raddatz had misrepresented his position.
Camerota started by quoting Pence’s remarks: “The U.S. needs to be prepared to use military force to strike military targets of the Assad regime.” She continued, “Donald Trump said last night, ‘I haven’t talked to him,” meaning you, and “No, no,” he disagrees with that. Have you talked to Donald Trump about your thoughts about Syria?”
Pence replied, “I’ve talked to him about our policy,” then quickly shifted to criticizing moderator Martha Raddatz, saying, “Frankly, I’ve got a lot of respect for Martha Raddatz, but, uh, she just misrepresented the statement that I made in my national debate, Alyson. The question that I got was about Aleppo, it was about humanitarian aid –
Pence: “If I can answer for a second – “
Camerota: “Go ahead.”
You can check the transcript, so can your viewers, was about the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo and what we ought to do. Our position, Donald Trump’s position is that we need to establish safe zones, and you need, you need to be willing to use, you need to be willing to use resources and including military power to secure those safe spaces to allow those people, including 100,000 children, to be able to evacuate. Last night she conflated that and referred to general provocation and involvement by the Russians in the Syrian regime and Donald Trump’s made it clear: our policy is safe zones for people suffering in Syria but also his focus is on destroying ISIS in Syria and not regime change. And I think the way she framed that was to suggest that I implied we ought to use military power to achieve regime change; I simply never said that.
Camerota persisted, “But why do you think Donald Trump said that you haven’t ever spoken about it?”
After a brief pause, Pence answered, “He said we hadn’t spoken specifically about what she said; the reason for that is because I didn’t say that as the position that I took in my debate.”
"He and I haven’t spoken, and I disagree. I disagree."
Pence’s actual quote from the vice-presidential debate reads like this:
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.
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.