Politics

Donald Trump Says He Hasn't Spoken to Mike Pence About Syria, Disagrees with Him

October 10th 2016

By:
Lucy Tiven

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's response to a question about military intervention in Syria during the second presidential debate is raising eyebrows.

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The question concerned how the candidates would handle the crisis in Aleppo, Syria. Trump maintained that while he did not personally "like" the President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, he praised Assad's handling of ISIS.

In 2015, Assad's forces killed more people in Syria than ISIS, the Washington Post reports.

“For all the Islamic State’s horrendous brutality, we can’t forget that the Assad regime has been the main source of death and destruction in Syria since 2011,” Emile Hokayem, a Middle East analyst at London's International Institute for Strategic Studies told the Post. “You can’t solve the conflict unless you find a way to address this, which the world hasn’t yet.”

Assad has continued to deny responsibility for the violence in Syria, the New York Times reported in September 2016.

"Assad is killing ISIS," Trump said. The moderator then pressed Trump on if he agreed with his running mate Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on his stance on Syria.

Trump, for his part, said he disagreed with Pence and had not spoken to him about the issue.

As the Associated Press reported, Pence recently said he would support American military intervention in Syria.

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"I just have to tell you that the provocations by Russia need to be met with American strength," Pence said during the Oct 4 vice presidential debate in New York, Bloomberg reports. "And if Russia chooses to be involved and continue, I should say, to be involved in this barbaric attack on civilians in Aleppo, the United States of America should be prepared to use military force to strike military targets of the Assad regime to prevent them from this humanitarian crisis that is taking place in Aleppo."

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, for her part, expressed hope that the ongoing diplomatic efforts in Syria could be successful, and said she did not want to use American ground forces in Syria.

Trump's remarks about Pence come amidst the fallout of the leaked 2005 "Access Hollywood" tape which show Trump making sexually predatory comments about women. Following the leak of the tape the GOP including Pence have largely condemned Trump.

Pence said he could not defend Trump's words and canceled a campaign appearance, CBS reported.

However, following the debate Pence tweeted congratulations to his running mate: