Vice President Mike Pence took on a role traditionally reserved for the president last week, appearing in Donald Trump's stead at summits of world leaders in Singapore and Papua New Guinea.
While there, Pence met with both Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and Chinese president Xi Jinping.
And, as a Washington Post columnist writes, those meetings appeared to go well.
Pence was delivering a stern message, reportedly scolding Putin for interfering in the 2016 election and telling Chinese leaders that it needs to be treated as an equal on trade.
“So I looked at him and I said, ‘We know what happened in 2016,'" Pence says he told Putin. “And I said, ‘As the president has told you, we’re not having it.’... I wanted to reiterate what the president has said. I thought it was important he hear that from the vice president, too.”
The columnist argues that Pence should take Trump's place on the international stage, as he's able to toe the line for the president while conducting himself in a more consistent and professional matter.
"Everybody talking to Pence understood that he represented only what Trump’s position was that day and that Trump could change his mind the following day for any reason. There’s a level of Trump’s unpredictability that even Pence’s Spartan-like discipline can never overcome," the column says. "But don’t believe reports that world leaders were upset Trump wasn’t there. They were fine dealing with Pence, and Pence was in his element. Trump sees the boring work of diplomacy as a nuisance. Perhaps sending Pence in his place is a win-win arrangement for both of them."
Read the column here.