VP Mike Pence to Meet with Angela Merkel, Speak at Munich Security Conference

On Tuesday, January 31, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence conducted a swearing-in of Elaine Chao as the Transportation Secretary, in the Vice Presidents Ceremonial Office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White House. (Photo by Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence will begin his first trip abroad since taking office, traveling to the Munich Security Conference in Germany on Friday, followed by a trip to Brussels, Belgium.

Traveling on behalf of President Donald Trump, Mike Pence will meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Germany at the Munich Security Conference. Pence will also speak at the conference. After Munich, Pence will travel to Brussels, Belgium, to meet with European Union and NATO representatives.

The theme in both Munich and Brussels will be reassurance according to a senior White House foreign policy adviser. The Vice President will outline the United States’ priorities for the transatlantic relationship as well as allow him to forge personal relationships with America’s most valued allies and partners. Pence is expected to repeatedly emphasize the need for NATO allies to increase burden sharing and show that the organization has the capability to defend against threats.

During his speech to the Munich Security Conference, the vice president will seek to reassure allies of the United States’ commitment to European partners and the transatlantic alliance. VP Pence is scheduled to make the second speech on the day he addresses the conference. According to the senior adviser, Pence will reaffirm the U.S.’s commitment to NATO — that the country has met its obligations — while also calling out some members. The aim is to accelerate the efforts of these members.

VP Pence is also expected to speak of conflicts in Eastern Ukraine and the Minsk agreement as a framework for peace between Ukraine and Russia.

The heavy emphasis on reassurance for U.S. allies will be used to remedy any possible divisions that have been derived through media, perceptions or otherwise, according to the adviser. If U.S. allies need reassurance, Pence will convey that the U.S. will be there for her allies as they have been there for her.

In Brussels, the vice president will meet with EU and NATO representatives according to the senior White House foreign policy adviser.

As for whether the administration’s loss of Gen. Mike Flynn will impact the vice president’s trip, a senior administration official expressed surety that U.S. allies won’t question Pence’s position to speak on behalf of the Trump administration on any matter.

The senior administration official made clear that Vice President Pence works in tandem with the president, is traveling on behalf of the president, and his role will be to represent President Trump.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana.