Vice President Mike Pence thought he would get a warm reception from the high-profile Republicans who attended a closed-door retreat in Sea Island, Georgia. The retreat’s host, the American Enterprise Institute, got more than they bargained for when former Vice President Dick Cheney showed up with a lot of questions about Trump’s foreign policy. Pence and Cheney exchanged pleasantries before Dick gave Pence a taste of his straight forward disapproval of Trump’s performance.
Mr. Cheney wanted to know why Trump threw U.S. allies in Europe under a Mack truck by trying to extort money from them for protection. Cheney called Trump’s foreign policy a dollar and cents approach that reeks of capitalistic greed and insensitivity. Cheney asked Pence why Trump’s wants to create cracks in the alliances that built a strong force against the nations that like to disrupt and tear down the principles of democracy.
But Cheney didn’t stop applying the pressure when he asked Pence, the evangelical stiff who talks out of both sides of his mouth, why the president disrespected U.S. military leaders’ decisions and then challenged them by kissing the feet of men like North Korea’s Kim Jon Un.
Cheney and the Republicans who side with Cheney’s political approach to international issues think Trump went too far when talked about pulling troops out of Syria after a phone call with Turkey’s president. Pence stood before the crowd in his usual cheap looking suit and his sweaty palms. Cheney, a well-respected member of the Republican Party, grilled Pence like he was a schoolboy who didn’t know the first thing about foreign policy. And Mr. Pence didn’t like it.
Mr. Pence tried to explain Trump’s policies the way he always does. Mike Pence likes to speak in parables that praise Trump’s political brilliance. He likes to reinforce the notion that the United States and South Korea are still besties even though Trump wants to charge South Korea for keeping American troops within their borders. Pence claimed the countries like South Korea, Germany, and Japan will pay Trump’s “cost plus 50” military deal and still have a warm feeling about the United States.
That Pence statement didn’t do much for Mr. Cheney. He knew Europe wants nothing to do with Pence or Mr. Trump. Japan and South Korea act respectably in front of the press, but behind closed doors, they can’t stand Pence or Trump.
Cheney got his message across. Not all members of the Republican Party think Trump is on the right track. They think he’s a runaway political freight train that runs over democracy and they think Pence enjoys that disruptive ride.