President Trump's controversial announcement that the U.S. would cease its "very provocative" and "very expensive" joint military drills with South Korea is causing some confusion on Capitol Hill.
After his summit North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Trump said the U.S. would stop its "war games" on the Korean peninsula. The U.S. regularly participates in military exercises with South Korea, which Kim has characterized as a "provocation" from the two nations. But Trump's announcement immediately sent government officials scrambling: U.S. troops said they hadn't heard anything about ceasing their exercises, and South Korea's government said it was seeking to "find out the precise meaning or intentions" of Trump's promise.
Even Vice President Mike Pence proliferated the post-summit chaos. Pence met with Republican members of Congress to try and fill them in on what Trump agreed to with Kim, but left some lawmakers more confused than ever. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) said that Pence was "very clear" in telling GOP leaders that regular military exercises would in fact continue, despite Trump's announcement. Others said there was no clear answer in how the U.S. military would move forward.
Finally, Pence's office told some reporters that the biannual exercises would come to an end, but "routine exercises" would continue. The White House has yet to publicly clarify what, precisely, Trump's promise to decrease U.S. military presence in the region will look like. Summer Meza