Pence’s pickle: How to bargain when no one speaks for Trump


WASHINGTON (AP) — Progress made, stated one.

Not so, stated the opposite.

We’ll meet once more, stated one.

Waste of time, stated the other.

Such has been the life recently of Mike Pence, the loyal soldier dispatched by President Donald Trump to steer negotiations over the partial authorities shutdown .

The vice chairman has been one of the administration’s most seen emissaries in the course of the shutdown struggle, assembly with lawmakers, sitting for interviews and leading employees-degree talks. But he’s been repeatedly — and really publicly — undermined and contradicted by his boss, who’s demanding billions from Congress to construct a wall along the southern border.

Lawmakers and aides in each parties say it’s turn into more and more clear that, on this White Home, nobody speaks for the president however himself, leaving Pence in an all-however-unattainable position as he tries to negotiate on Trump’s behalf.

“He doesn’t actually have the authority to make a deal,” stated Republican Rep. Mike Simpson of Idaho, who labored alongside Pence back when Pence was a member of Congress. He stated legislators respect the vice chairman even when he’s simply “the messenger.” But he provides: “Trump is the one who’s going to say ‘sure’ or ‘no.’”

Even before the shutdown began, Pence was in a clumsy spot in the wall debate — fairly actually. When Trump hosted then-incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer at a heated Oval Office assembly in December that ended with the president saying he’d be “proud” to personal a government shutdown, a stone-confronted Pence sat by, speechless in his chair, drawing quips on social media comparing him to a statue or the “Elf on the Shelf.”

Trump later despatched Pence to steer a weekend of price range talks with employees for Republican and Democratic congressional leaders, an effort that Democrats dismissed as little more than a public-relations effort by the White Home to offer the impression it was working to finish the deadlock. Some additionally noticed Pence’s conferences with legislative staffers as unbefitting of his title.

When the primary negotiation session ended that Saturday, Pence tweeted: “Productive discussion.”

An hour later, Trump countered: “Not much headway made.”

The subsequent morning, as Pence was set to return to the negotiating desk, Trump once more threw chilly water on the trouble.

“I don’t anticipate to have anything occur at that assembly … nor does the vice chairman,” Trump advised reporters. “Finally, it’s going to be solved by the principals.”

Allies of the vice chairman minimized the significance of the comments and the White House denied any friction.

“The vice chairman has been very efficient in communicating on behalf of the administration,” stated White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders. “He has been in lock step with the president all through all the process.”

Pence, too, rejected the concept he’d been undermined by the president or had problem constructing…



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