President Donald Trump is “giving serious consideration” to moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Vice President Mike Pence said at the 2017 AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, D.C.
The embassy move had been an election campaign promise made by Trump last year, but the status of the proposal remains unclear. Pence’s statement is the latest on-the-record articulation of the administration’s mindset on the issue. In the early days of Trump’s presidency, the White House has repeatedly stressed that “no decision” has been made on the embassy relocation.
Pence expressed the “profound humility and gratitude I feel to stand before you tonight as the 48th vice president of the United States,” as well as his pride that in his Feb. 28 speech to a joint session of Congress, Trump opened his address by condemning the nationwide wave of bomb threats and vandalism against the Jewish community.
Under Trump, said Pence, “if the world knows nothing else, the world will know this: America stands with Israel.”
“[Israel’s] cause is our cause, her values are our values and her fight is our fight,” he said.
Pence said Trump’s invitation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House for their meeting last month served to “reaffirm the enduring bond” between the U.S. and Israel.
The vice president emphasized the Christian religious roots of his personal support for Israel.
“My Christian upbringing compels me to cherish Israel,” he said, mentioning how he fulfilled a “lifelong dream” when he was able to bring his children on a trip to the Jewish state, and how members of his household “pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”
Trump and Pence will “stand without apology for Israel and we always will,” said the vice president. He vowed that the U.S. will no longer allow the United Nations to be used as a “forum for invective against Israel.”
Regarding the fight against radical Islamic terrorism, Pence said, “In President Trump, America has a leader who will call our enemies by their name.” He said the U.S. “will hunt down and destroy ISIS (Islamic State) at its source.” America will also “stand strong in the face of the leading state sponsor of terrorism; this administration has put Iran on notice,” he said.
“Under President Donald Trump, the United States of America will not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon,” said Pence.