Dick Cheney confronts Pence over Trump's foreign policy, says administration looking more like Obama than Reagan

  • Former Vice President Dick Cheney confronted Vice President Mike Pence about President Donald Trump's foreign policy at a gathering Saturday, according to The Washington Post.
  • Cheney questioned Pence on issues like Trump's tougher attitude toward NATO allies, the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria and the end of joint military exercises in South Korea.
  • Pence provided a strong defense of the Trump administration in response to Cheney's questions.
Vice President Mike Pence
Cheriss May | NurPhoto | Getty Images
Vice President Mike Pence

Former Vice President Dick Cheney confronted Vice President Mike Pence about President Donald Trump's foreign policy at a gathering Saturday, with Cheney questioning Trump's decision to remove troops from Syria and take a tougher stance on NATO allies.

The conversation between Cheney and Pence took place at a closed-door retreat hosted by the American Enterprise Institute. A transcript of the event, which was meant to be "off the record," was obtained by The Washington Post from an unnamed source.

A person with knowledge of the matter confirmed to CNBC that the conversation took place.

Cheney, who was vice president under President George W. Bush, said he worries the Trump administration is looking "a lot more like Barack Obama than Ronald Reagan."

In addition to his qualms about Trump's stance on NATO allies and the withdrawal of troops from Syria, Cheney expressed concern over Trump's choice to end U.S. military exercises with South Korea, which had been happening for decades, as an olive branch to North Korea. He also was alarmed by reports that said Trump "supposedly doesn't spend that much time with the intel people, or doesn't agree with them, frequently."

Cheney's questions prompted Pence to strongly defend the Trump administration. The vice president said ending the biannual "war games" in South Korea would "not affect our readiness" in the country. When discussing NATO, Pence and Cheney engaged in a vigorous back-and-forth, with Pence saying Trump can ask allies to increase funding for defense while still maintaining a positive relationship.

"I think there is a tendency by critics of the president and our administration to conflate the demand that our allies live up to their word and their commitments and an erosion in our commitment to the post-World War II order," Pence said.

A spokesman for Pence confirmed the discussion with Cheney took place but declined to comment, according to the Post article.

A spokeswoman for Cheney did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.

Click here to read the full article by The Washington Post.