Mike Pence Tried to “Bring Greetings” from Trump to European Allies. He Was Met with Total Silence.

Sometimes it helps to read the room.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Vice President Mike Pence at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday.Sven Hoppe/ZUMA

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At the Munich Security Conference Friday, Vice President Mike Pence’s attempt to “bring greetings” from President Donald Trump was met with complete silence.

The conference, which has been held annually since the Cold War, has traditionally been a chance for the United States to show its commitment to Europe. Instead, this year’s meeting highlighted the growing divide between the Trump administration and European allies.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel used her speech on Saturday to say Europe would not follow Pence’s demand for Europe to pull out of the Iran deal, Politico reported.

Merkel also criticized Trump’s isolationist trade policy. “If we’re serious about the transatlantic partnership, it’s not very easy for me as German chancellor to read…that the American department of commerce apparently considers German and European cars to be a threat to the national security of the United States of America,” she said.

Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger, a German diplomat and the chairman of the conference, wrote in the introduction to the conference report that there is a “certain leadership vacuum in what has become known as the liberal international order.” The body of the report makes clear what he was referring to:

Moreover, the US effort to rally “the noble nations of the world to build a new liberal order” and to oppose authoritarian great powers would be far more credible if President Trump and his administration did not display an irritating enthusiasm for strongmen across the globe, suggesting that this administration is living in a “post-human rights world.” For long-time transatlantic allies, it is still hard to stomach when Trump praises illiberal leaders from Brazil to the Philippines and defies his intelligence agencies in declaring his support for Saudi Arabia after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, while reserving his harshest criticism for Canada, Germany, or the European Union.

Pence gave a second speech Saturday and though he did not mention the national emergency his boss declared a day earlier, he did have more success in one way: when he offered European leaders greetings from Trump, this time the President at least got a faint applause.

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WHO DOESN’T LOVE A POSITIVE STORY—OR TWO?

“Great journalism really does make a difference in this world: it can even save kids.”

That’s what a civil rights lawyer wrote to Julia Lurie, the day after her major investigation into a psychiatric hospital chain that uses foster children as “cash cows” published, letting her know he was using her findings that same day in a hearing to keep a child out of one of the facilities we investigated.

That’s awesome. As is the fact that Julia, who spent a full year reporting this challenging story, promptly heard from a Senate committee that will use her work in their own investigation of Universal Health Services. There’s no doubt her revelations will continue to have a big impact in the months and years to come.

Like another story about Mother Jones’ real-world impact.

This one, a multiyear investigation, published in 2021, exposed conditions in sugar work camps in the Dominican Republic owned by Central Romana—the conglomerate behind brands like C&H and Domino, whose product ends up in our Hershey bars and other sweets. A year ago, the Biden administration banned sugar imports from Central Romana. And just recently, we learned of a previously undisclosed investigation from the Department of Homeland Security, looking into working conditions at Central Romana. How big of a deal is this?

“This could be the first time a corporation would be held criminally liable for forced labor in their own supply chains,” according to a retired special agent we talked to.

Wow.

And it is only because Mother Jones is funded primarily by donations from readers that we can mount ambitious, yearlong—or more—investigations like these two stories that are making waves.

About that: It’s unfathomably hard in the news business right now, and we came up about $28,000 short during our recent fall fundraising campaign. We simply have to make that up soon to avoid falling further behind than can be made up for, or needing to somehow trim $1 million from our budget, like happened last year.

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