Tuesday on MSNBC, NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell interviewed Vice President Mike Pence in Jerusalem and questioned him about getting political on a military base.
Partial transcript as follows:
MITCHELL: On this trip, you, in front of Israeli television and standing next to a foreign leader, slammed Senator Schumer by name for the shutdown. Was that appropriate?
PENCE: Well the reailty is that this was as an unnecessary government shutdown and the American people know it. Fortunately, President Trump stood firm, Republicans in the House and Senate stood firm and 81 members of the Senate came together to reopen the government and allow us to begin to move forward with the priorities this country really should be dealing with. First and foremost, a long-term spending bill will allow us to increase funding on our military at a level that we haven’t been able to do so for many, many years, fund critical domestic priorities and now, we are also going to be able to move on to the issue of DACA, the issue of a border wall, the issue of immigration reform. But it was important for us to set the record straight. The Schumer shutdown failed. The American people know it and I thought it was the right time for me to make that—
MITCHELL: You don’t think you were being too political when you broke precedent and on a military base overseas, forward base, you told the troops that it was the Democratic minority responsible for the shutdown?
PENCE: I said there was a minority in the Senate. But Andrea, 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 people who were facing a question of whether they were going to be paid, whether they and their families were going to get the benefits they earn. I wanted them to know President Trump and I were standing with them, fighting for them and we were going to get the government reopened and we were going to stand with them every step of the way.
MITCHELL: Correct, you did say the minority in the Senate to them and clearly you were talking about the Democrats. It was a political statement. You have been criticized for that.
PENCE: I just thought it was important. Here are Americans in uniform on a far distant battlefield defeating the ISIS enemy in record time. It’s extraordinary to think of the progress we have made against ISIS in the last year—98% of the territory that ISIS had taken down over the last year, by exactly those soldiers I was standing amongst. I wanted them to know that whatever was happening in Washington, D.C., the commander in chief had their back and we were going to make sure this government reopened, they and their families got the benefits they deserve and we welcome the bipartisan effort in the Senate, the strong support in the House to do just that.
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