Vice President Mike Pence is slated to cut his trip to South America short as the White House faces backlash over President Donald Trump’s comments both sides were to blame for the violence during a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday.
It was announced Wednesday the vice president will return to the district Thursday, shortly after Trump announced via social media he plans to dismantle his Manufacturing Advisory Council and the Strategic and Policy Forum after a slew of its board members resigned amidst allegations the president failed to ease concerns he’s sympathetic to the white supremacist movement, The Hill reports.
Pence and second lady Karen Pence were scheduled to meet with South American leaders from Aug. 13-18. The trip included stops in Colombia, Argentina, Chile and Panama.
“As we prepare to end our trip a little bit early tomorrow after we stop in Panama, I leave here greatly encouraged that across South America and Central America and with the United States and Canada that this is a new era here in the New World,” he told reporters in Chile, per the pool report.
The vice president went on to defend Trump following his controversial comments regarding the Charlottesville rally.
“What happened in Charlottesville was a tragedy and the president has been clear on this tragedy and so have I,” Pence said Wednesday. “I spoke at length about this heartbreaking situation on Sunday night in Colombia and I stand with the president.”
Pence then acknowledged Heather Heyer, the woman tragically killed when a man rammed a vehicle into a crowd during the Charlottesville rally, calling her a “remarkable young woman.” He added that he has been praying for not only Heyer’s loved ones, but America as a whole.
“We’re also praying that in America that we will not allow the few to divide the many,” Pence continued. “The strength of the United States of America is always strongest, as the president has said so eloquently, when we are united around our shared values and so it will always be.”
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