Drills or no drills? Confusion over VP Pence’s Korea comments after Trump promises halt to war games
After meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Monday, Trump announced the US will be “stopping the war games” on the Korean peninsula, describing them as expensive and “provocative.”
At a lunch with Republican senators on Tuesday, however, Pence said that exercises will continue - according to Senator Cory Gardner (R-Colorado), a frequent critic of Trump.
Pence told Senate GOP that military exercises in Korea will continue, per Sen. Gardner— Burgess Everett (@burgessev) June 12, 2018
Politico reporter Burgess Everett cited Gardner’s claim, prompting Pence’s spokeswoman Alyssa Farah to outright deny it:
“VP didn’t say this at the Senate lunch today,” Farah tweeted.
Gardner then chimed in himself, appearing to back Everett’s version of events:
At this point, an unnamed official from Pence’s office stepped in and told NBC that the VP was referring to the “bi-annual military exercises” and not the “routine training and readiness exercises,” meaning Gardner was technically correct but Everett had misunderstood him. There is a “huge difference between the two,” the anonymous official said.
Some 30 minutes after his original tweet, Gardner sent a follow-up, clarifying that Pence was saying “readiness training and exchanges” will continue, but “war games will not.”
An earlier clarification could have saved the Politico reporter a lot of trouble, but it wouldn’t have been breathlessly reported as breaking news, with Gardner at the center of it.
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