Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized Hillary Clinton for her role in leading the United States to intervene in Libya, but his recently announced running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, expressed praise and support directly to Clinton for her efforts to remove Libyan dictator Muammar Qadhafi.
On March 1, 2011 — two and a half weeks before the NATO intervention began — Clinton testified before a House Foreign Affairs Committee. In that hearing Pence specifically thanked Clinton for her efforts on Libya.
"I want to thank the Secretary of State for her testimony and her service to the country. It’s good to see you back before the committee," Pence said. " I also want to thank you, specifically, for the efforts by the administration and your offices to further isolate Libya during a time of extraordinary tragedy in the streets, tragedy of which I think we're probably only partially aware."
"I want to continue to encourage and urge the administration to stand with those that are standing in that now bifurcated country to use all means at our disposal to provide support," he continued. "I certainly associate myself with Mr. Royce’s comments about isolating radio communications and – and would express appreciation for your efforts at Geneva and elsewhere to facilitate a coordinated international response, including a no-fly zone. Qadhafi must go. I’m grateful to hear the secretary of state and the administration take that position unambiguously."
Trump has claimed throughout the campaign that he would have opposed the Libyan intervention in 2011 and that the country would be better off if Muammar Qadhafi were still in power. As BuzzFeed News first reported earlier this year, Trump, on his video blog and in appearances on cable news, pushed for intervening in Libya in 2011 on humanitarian grounds.
After the invasion began, Pence was more mixed on the administration's performance. He said he agreed with enforcing a no-fly zone but said he disagreed with the Obama administration not getting a resolution to use force from Congress. He also said he wished the U.S. had taken the lead role in fighting conflict, instead of yielding the lead to the NATO.
"I certainly support the decision to enforce a no-fly zone. With the want and slaughter of civilians which was taking place at the hands of Muammar Qadhafi I think the international community responded in a proper way," said Pence on local radio. "I'm disappointed the president consulted with the U.N. and didn't consult or seek a resolution for the use of force from the Congress. It's also disappointing for me to see the U.S. yield the lead role to French in this matter. The French essentially are leading the world community into confronting Muammar Qadhafi."
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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