Tags: mike pence | chuck schumer | government | shutdown

Pence Defends Calling Out Schumer in Front of Israeli Cameras

Image: Pence Defends Calling Out Schumer in Front of Israeli Cameras
(AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 23 January 2018 12:28 PM

Vice President Mike Pence Tuesday defended calling out Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer by name while in front of Israeli television cameras, saying that the three-day weekend government shutdown was "unnecessary."

"Well, the reality is that this was an unnecessary government shutdown, and the American people knew it," Pence told NBC News' Andrea Mitchell, in excerpts released of the interview Tuesday morning.

"Fortunately, President [Donald] Trump stood firm, and 81 members of the Senate came together to reopen the government and allow it to begin moving forward, with the priorities that this country really should be dealing with."

Pence this week traveled to Jerusalem, where he spoke with Parliament, met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and on Tuesday visited Jerusalem's Western Wall, one of the holiest sites in Judaism. 

The vice president told Mitchell that a long-term spending bill will allow increased military funding at levels that haven't been seen in years. Further, it will allow for funding of critical domestic priorities, he said.

"We are also going to be able to move on to the issue of DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals], the issue of a border wall, the issue of immigration reform," said Pence. "But it was important for us to set the record straight. The Schumer shutdown failed, and the American people know it and I thought it was the right time for me to make that [comment]."

Pence also said he does not think he was being overly political when he told troops at an overseas military base that Democrats are mostly responsible for the shutdown.

"I was standing in front of Americans in uniform, Americans who every hour of the day are taking off and flying sorties in the fight against ISIS, and they were facing a question of whether they were going to be paid, whether their families were going to get the benefits they earned," said Pence.

"I wanted them to know that President Trump and I were standing with them, fighting for them, and we were going to get the government reopened."

He further said he thought it was important to speak with the soldiers on the issue.

"Here are Americans in uniform, on a far distant battlefield, defeating ISIS enemy in record time," he said. "It's extraordinary to think of the progress we've made against ISIS in the last year . . .

"I wanted them to know that whatever was happening in Washington, D.C., their commander in chief had their back, and we were going to make sure this government reopened, and their families got the benefits they deserved and we welcome the bipartisan effort in the Senate, the strong support in the House to do just that."

Also, on Tuesday, Pence said he does not believe he caused damage to the relationship between the United States and the Palestinians in his speech to the Israeli parliament, during which he gave unconditional support to Israel.

"The United States has played a leading role in seeking peace here in the Middle East now for decades," said Pence. "What I said yesterday is longstanding American policy. The American people cherish our relationship with the State of Israel . . .

"I said yesterday what President Trump said on Dec. 6 even while he announced that we were recognizing Jerusalem here as the capital of Israel, moving our embassy here."

Meanwhile, Pence also defended an ad from the Trump campaign that accuses Democrats for being complicit when there is a murder at the hands of an illegal immigrant, and said he does not believe the strong language will hurt matters moving forward.

"I believe the American people know that we need to deal with the issue of illegal immigration, we need to reform the diversity lottery program, and chain migration that very recently brought people into this country that did harm to Americans," said Pence.

"President Trump made a commitment to build a wall and he won a national election with that as a central promise and the American people want to see border security and a border wall."

The full interview will air "Andrea Mitchell Reports" on MSNBC Tuesday at noon and on "NBC Nightly News."

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Vice President Mike Pence Tuesday defended calling out Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer by name while in front of Israeli television cameras. . .
mike pence, chuck schumer, government, shutdown
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2018-28-23
Tuesday, 23 January 2018 12:28 PM
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