Mike Pence, Donald Trump’s vice presidential nominee, attempted to clarify his positions on immigration and Syria’s humanitarian crisis during a “CBS This Morning” interview Thursday, claiming that his views were very much in line with the sometimes off-the-cuff policies put forth by the man at the top of the Republican ticket.
When asked about Trump’s proposal to create a “deportation task force” dedicated to removing undocumented immigrants from the United States, Pence seemed to dismiss the issue.
“All this talk about a deportation force -- we have a deportation force in this country, it’s called Immigrations and Customs Enforcement,” Pence said, going on to identify other immigration priorities like border security and the identification and removal of “criminal aliens.”
Later, he added, “there’s no daylight between Donald Trump and I on that or any other issue.”
“I truly do believe the American people long for us to end illegal immigration,” he said. “We have talked about it for decades. Let’s do it and let’s do it in the order that Donald Trump described.”
On the tragedy in Aleppo, Syria, where thousands of people are trapped by civil war with no humanitarian relief in sight, Pence was asked whether he would support using U.S. war planes to enforce a no-fly zone in the area.
“Donald Trump and I have consistently called for the establishment of safe zones under - under, you know - under the umbrella of international approval. And we have to act,” Pence said. “We cannot stand idly by.”
Pence’s response was a marked difference from Trump’s comments to MSNBC in May, when the GOP presidential nominee said “I would have stayed out of Syria and wouldn’t have fought so much for Assad, against Assad, because I thought that was a whole thing. [America has] bigger problems than Assad.”
After “CBS This Morning” co-host Norah O’Donnell pointed out to Pence that “you guys have a different position on this issue,” the Indiana governor sought to clarify further the ticket’s position on Aleppo.
“I think Donald Trump’s been very, very clear about his view of the Syrian situation,” Pence said. “Where there’s absolute agreement is we have to establish safe zones for people to be able to get out of harm’s way in Aleppo and if you don’t back that up with military resources and our allies in the region, then you can’t really guarantee that people and those 100,000 children are going to be able to get out of harm’s way.”
“Whether that’s -- you establish a no-fly zone or whether you go beyond that with military force, I think that would have to be a real time decision by our commander in chief,” he added.
Pence also weighed in on his performance in Tuesday night’s vice presidential debate.
“I know some people have said that I won the debate,” he said. “I honestly believe that Donald Trump won that debate.”
Pence went on to praise Trump’s “judgment to make it through tough times,” pointing to the businessman’s recently revealed tax return documents that showed Trump claiming a $916 million loss in 1995.
“He faced enormous losses in his business. He led an incredible comeback. He did that by drawing around him women and men of extraordinary ability and enterprise,” Pence said. “And I think it’s exactly the kind of judgment and exactly the kind of people that he’s going to bring around him if we have the privilege of serving in the next administration.”