The congressman from Indiana reminded his colleagues of the necessity of “confronting tyranny.” He affirmed that he stood with President George W. Bush. And he declared Baghdad, simply, as “guilty.”
“It has come from time to time upon the free nations of the world, and it seems most especially on the United States of America, to be willing to employ the arsenal of democracy to confront force with force as a last resort,” the congressman, Mike Pence, told his fellow representatives in a speech shortly before the 2003 invasion of Iraq. “And we may well become upon such a time again.”
As the fighting continued year after year, Mr. Pence kept up his support, speaking forcefully in favor of the Iraq war even as many Americans turned against it. But his firm stance on that invasion now represents one of the most jarring differences in his abrupt political marriage to Donald J. Trump, who has repeatedly emphasized his opposition to the war.
From the use of force to free trade to diplomacy, Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence hold very different views of the United States’ role in the world, and reconciling them as they enter the heart of the campaign may prove to be a challenge.Continue reading the main story
Mr. Trump has espoused an “America First” ideology that would require other nations, from trade partners to strategic allies, to rely less on the United States’ generosity and put more of their own money into mutual aid arrangements. Critics have called Mr. Trump, who has questioned the United States’ involvement in NATO, an “isolationist,” a term he shuns.
It is an agenda that cuts a stark contrast with Mr. Pence’s 15 years of public service. Before being elected governor of Indiana, he spent 12 years in Congress, where he was molded in the neoconservative era of Republican politics that heralded a vision of the United States as a force for spreading democracy. “Throughout the world, the United States has stood as a beacon of freedom and hope, and I am confident we will remain so,” Mr. Pence wrote on his congressional website.
William Kristol, the editor of the conservative Weekly Standard, said Mr. Pence possessed a “Reagan-Bush-McCain kind of worldview,” which he described as “pretty much the view of every Republican nominee for most of our memory.”
“Trump is pretty far from that — I mean, it’s pretty striking,” said Mr. Kristol, a prominent voice in the movement to derail Mr. Trump’s candidacy. “He has a different view of the world.”
Some of the policy clashes between Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence have played out publicly. Others are more subtle.
When Mr. Trump proposed a temporary ban on Muslim immigrants last year, Mr. Pence rejected the proposal in a post on Twitter: “Calls to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. are offensive and unconstitutional.” (When Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence made their public debut together as a ticket on Saturday, Mr. Pence expressed support for Mr. Trump’s revised proposal to “temporarily suspend immigration from countries compromised by terrorism,” as Mr. Pence put it.)
On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Mr. Trump said this year that he would prefer to remain “neutral” before taking a more pro-Israel line. Mr. Pence has adopted a firmer position, telling a conservative gathering in 2015: “Israel’s enemies are our enemies.”
While Mr. Trump has struggled to commit to a view on Libya and the ouster of its leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, Mr. Pence initially declared that “Qaddafi must go,” even applauding the Obama administration for its position, although his enthusiasm for intervention later seemed to disappear as he found the United States mission there to be directionless.
Mr. Trump recently made headlines for praising the former leader of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, for his supposed proficiency at killing terrorists, and Mr. Trump once chided President George W. Bush for leading the United States “into the war with lies.” (In 2002, though, when Mr. Trump was asked by the radio host Howard Stern whether he supported a potential invasion, he responded, “I guess so.”)
Mr. Pence once said Mr. Hussein had “most assuredly coddled terrorists.” And in 2005, as the intelligence leading up to the war was questioned, he said: “There was no manipulation. The war in Iraq was just, is just, and the freedom of the teeming millions who established a constitutional republic one week ago supports that conclusion.”
Even their word choices demonstrate how far apart they are on geopolitics. Mr. Pence’s use of the phrase “arsenal of democracy” — which he repeated on Saturday — echoes President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who used it in a 1940 radio address to argue for providing arms to the United States’ allies in Europe. Since then, the words have, at times, been adopted by those who argue for a missionary, interventionist philosophy that has sent the United States’ armed forces into conflicts big and small, and not always successfully.
Mr. Trump has used the term “America First” since a March interview where he was asked whether it accurately described his views. It harks back to a movement by that name, led by the aviator Charles Lindbergh, to keep the United States from entering World War II.
While that approach is now considered isolationist, Mr. Trump says he is a realist — aware that the United States cannot afford to intervene everywhere and must limit its actions to situations where it clearly serves the United States’ own interests. Mr. Trump seems less interested in how democratic the United States’ partners are, which could explain his professed admiration for President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.
A chief difference between Mr. Trump and his running mate is experiential: Mr. Trump’s worldview is shaped by his business dealings, and his policy views have been tested only in speeches, interviews and political debates, while Mr. Pence participated in policy deliberations, hearings and briefings in Washington as a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“I do know him as the type of person who does not move on rumor or feelings,” said Donald Manzullo, a former Republican congressman from Illinois, who served on the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, of which Mr. Pence was vice chairman. “He is not the type of person who can evaluate things without seeing them firsthand.”
As a member of Congress, Mr. Pence made annual visits to troops in Iraq or Afghanistan, experiences that helped develop his approach to issues of national security and diplomacy, revealing a commitment to promoting democracy — even if it comes with a cost.
“I believe it is imperative that conservatives again embrace America’s role as leader of the free world and the arsenal of democracy,” he said last year at the Conservative Political Action Conference, as he called for “dramatically” increasing military spending.
Mr. Pence attracted some derision for the sunny description he offered in 2007 after visiting a market in Baghdad, which he said was “like a normal outdoor market in Indiana in the summertime.” Dozens of people had been killed in a bomb attack at the market less than two months earlier. Sniper attacks had taken place there, and the visiting congressional delegation was protected by a large military presence.
As governor, Mr. Pence has led about a half-dozen missions to places like Japan, China and Germany, bolstering his pro-free-trade stance that strongly clashes with his running mate.
Mr. Pence has expressed his approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and voted for trade agreements while a member of the House. During his first successful congressional campaign, in 2000, his opponents criticized the North American Free Trade Agreement, or Nafta, but Mr. Pence expressed support for the trade pact and the idea of free trade.
“I believe it’s just about the only thing President Bill Clinton’s ever done that I agreed with,” Mr. Pence said during a debate that year, adding that “the right course is not to turn back the clock, to close our borders,” but rather to recognize “that trade means jobs.”
Mr. Trump has condemned the Trans-Pacific Partnership and has made a point of railing against trade deals like Nafta, which on Saturday he called “the worst economic deal in the history of our country.”
Mr. Trump insists that the United States is losing when it comes to trade. In 2001, Mr. Pence said that when American companies compete globally, “We win, and we win consistently.”
The divergent trade views are difficult to square, said Sean Savage, a political science professor at St. Mary’s College in Indiana, who has tracked Mr. Pence’s career for more than a decade. “He has the view that free trade is good and beneficial,” Mr. Savage said. “No matter how much he denies it, Trump leans toward nationalism and isolationism.”
For all of their differences, Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence will probably find common ground on one issue: their disdain for the political opposition.
“Maybe they can just conceal their differences by agreeing that President Obama has been a bad president and Secretary Clinton was a bad secretary of state,” Mr. Kristol said. “I imagine that’s what they’ll try to spend 98 percent of their time saying.”Continue reading the main story