The Slatest

Mike Pence Expected Applause When He Mentioned Trump in Munich. He Got Silence.

Vice President Michael Pence gives a speech during the 55th Munich Security Conference (MSC) on February 16, 2019 in Munich, Germany.
Vice President Michael Pence gives a speech during the 55th Munich Security Conference (MSC) on February 16, 2019 in Munich, Germany.
Alexandra Beier/Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence left room for applause. But no one clapped. At a security conference in Munich on Saturday, Pence mentioned President Donald Trump, noting he was there “on behalf of a champion of freedom and of a strong national defense.” The vice president went on: “I bring greetings from the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump.” Pence then paused for applause but no one in the room clapped. After what seem like a very long five seconds, Pence continues with his speech.

In a copy of Pence’s prepared remarks that were published on the White House’s website, there is parenthetical note of “applause” after those words. The prepared remarks also mention “applause” after Pence introduces Sen. Lindsey Graham, which he did receive. The vice president was also supposed to introduce House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (and wait for her applause) but he ended up skipping that introduction.

The silence when Trump’s name was uttered was partly a reflection of how the conference in Munich put on display just how divided Europe is from Washington under Trump. “No one any longer believes that Trump cares about the views or interests of the allies,” a senior German official told the New York Times. “It’s broken.”