First son Donald Trump Jr. on Tuesday morning slammed former Vice President Dick Cheney for comparing the policies of his father, President Donald Trump, to Barack Obama's. Afterward, Cheney and Pence became the top item of discussion among the mix of Trump-supporting and Trump-skeptical conservatives attending the retreat.
Although Mr Pence referred to Mr Cheney as "as one of my favourite hawks" and told ABC, "I hold Dick Cheney in really high regard in his role as Vice President and as an American", his tone was a far cry from his earlier references to him as a role model.
During a private retreat Saturday hosted by the American Enterprise Institute, Cheney raised his concerns over Trump's comments against the North Atlantic Trade Organization and the surprise withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, the Postreported.
The former vice president specifically slammed the U.S. for suspending joint military drills with South Korea and for Trump's alleged intention to make Germany, Japan, and South Korea to pay for the American deployment on the Korean Peninsula, calling it a "New York State real estate [type of] deal". Cheney also anxious aloud to Pence that "we're getting into a situation when our friends and allies around the world that we depend upon are going to lack confidence in us" and then offered a blunt criticism of the current administration's response to foreign policy challenges.
Pence reportedly deflected the criticism with quips of his own.
Cheney also raised alarm over news reports that Trump does not spend sufficient time with his intelligence briefers as well as over frequent staff churn in key national security postings.
In a private session, the former vice president told the current one that Trump's policy looks too much like Barack Obama's.
Donald Trump Jr. left, looks on as his father, presidential candidate Donald Trump, waves after speaking at a caucus night watch party at the Treasure Island Hotel & Casino on February 23, 2016, in Las Vegas. "But we think it's possible to demand that your allies do more to provide for the common defense of all of our nations and, at the same time, reaffirm our strong commitment-whether it be to the transatlantic alliance or to our allies across the Indo-Pacific". A spokesperson for Pence confirmed to the Post that the exchange took place. "The AEI event was off the record, as a result I have nothing to share", she said.
The clash is an example of the ongoing tension in the Republican Party between the more hawkish Bush-era wing that pushed for US intervention in Iraq in 2003, and Trump's homefront-focused policies that look to withdraw from conflicts overseas so as to deal with domestic national security issues.