Sydney, Australia. After thinking over the negative public relations consequences of breaking an agreement to take Australian Syrian refugees, American Vice President Mike Pence has now said America will honor a promise made by Obama that Trump originally said he would not.
Vice President Mike Pence said on Saturday the United States would honor a controversial refugee deal with Australia, under which the United States would resettle up to 1,250 asylum seekers, a deal President Donald Trump had described as “dumb”.
Pence told a joint news conference with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull that the deal would be subject to vetting, and that honoring it “doesn’t mean that we admire the agreement, we will honor this agreement out of respect to this enormously important alliance,” Pence said at Turnbull’s harbourside official residence in Sydney.
The Australian agreement former President Barack Obama signed late last year, said the United States would resettle up to 1,250 asylum seekers held in offshore processing camps on South Pacific islands in Papua New Guinea and Nauru.
The deal has taken on added importance for Australia, which is under political and legal pressure to shut the camps, particularly one on PNG’s Manus Island where violence between residents and inmates flared last week.
Syrian refugees and their American advocates welcomed the Trump commitment, although they remained concerned that “extreme vetting” could see fewer than 1,250 resettled in the United States.
American voters of course had no further say, as Trump yet again has broken a campaign promise made that got him elected. Most political observers now concede Trump has no chance of a second term as President, due to the sheer number of policy reversals and lies to the American electorate.