Trump backs Pence, dismisses ‘phony’ report he questioned loyalty

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PORT MORESBY-The United States will not back down from its trade dispute with the Chinese regime, and might even double its tariffs, unless Beijing bows to US demands, Vice President Mike Pence said on November 17.

Pence is representing Donald Trump at the summits, after the president opted not to attend - becoming the first U.S. head of state to skip the marquee Asian conferences since 2013.

"No I don't question his loyalty at all", the president said.

In recent weeks, with his electoral prospects two years from now much on his mind, Mr. Trump has focused on the person who has most publicly tethered his fortunes to him.

Pence tweeted he would discuss "Trump's commitment to prosperity, security and freedom in the Indo-Pacific".

"He is 100 percent loyal", the President said to a group of journalists before leaving for California.

According to the Friday report, the president has been asking aides and advisers whether they believe Pence is loyal.

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Trump, who is known to hold personal loyalty as a deciding factor in many of his friendships and hiring decisions, referred to the vice-president as "a trooper" and "a terrific person" who has "already been tested, in many ways".

Pence said at the time that he was "offended by the words and actions" in the recording - a statement Trump has reportedly not forgotten.

"How do you do a story like that, and you don't call the principal?"

"The idea of changing a ticket has been discussed by at least some aides in every White House and it nearly never happens", he said. He and the president "have a very close" and "very strong relationship", he added. I doubt they had any sources.

Despite his staunch record of standing behind President Donald Trump's rhetoric and policy choices, it seems Vice President Mike Pence could find himself joining the ever-growing list of former administration officials.

Speaking at the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) summit on Saturday, Pence took aim at China's Belt and Road initiative, saying countries should not accept debt that compromised their sovereignty.

"We are witnessing a rising tide of trade protectionism along with financial volatility in some emerging economies", Morrison said.