But Pence’s growing influence on foreign policy is increasingly evident. The vice president was deployed to Europe last month to reassure allies that the United States will stay committed to alliances such as NATO, despite President Trump’s calls for Europeans to pay more for common defense. During Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s recent visit, Trump announced that Pence and his Japanese counterpart would lead a new dialogue on U.S.-Japan economic cooperation…
Inside the White House, Pence is in the room during most of the president’s interactions with world leaders. He receives the presidential daily brief. As head of the transition, he was instrumental in bringing several traditionally hawkish Republicans into the top levels of the administration’s national security team, including Director of National Intelligence-designate Dan Coats, CIA Director Mike Pompeo and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley.
Trump and Pence met with Haley last week just before the United States decided to confront Russia and the Syrian regime at the U.N. Security Council about Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons. The move seems to run counter to the White House’s drive to warm relations with Moscow, but Trump decided, with Pence’s support, that it was important and necessary, officials said.
Pence’s national security team is also in place and humming. Just days after the inauguration, Pence announced that he had brought on Andrea Thompson as his national security adviser. A former military intelligence officer with extensive combat zone experience, she also worked for the House Homeland Security and Foreign Affairs committees. Most recently, she worked for the firm run by retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal.