Pence travels to China despite past criticism of Obama’s trips

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence speaks with the media after emerging from Speaker of the House Brian Bosma's, R-Indianapolis, office on the final day of the 2015 legislative session at the Statehouse in Indianapolis, Wednesday, April 29, 2015. Indiana lawmakers are expected to work into the night Wednesday to wrap up the 2015 legislative session, signing off on a new two-year state budget and putting contentious issues such as control over the State Board of Education and a religious objections law behind them. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is in the middle of a trade mission to China, a trip similar to one he criticized Barack Obama for taking.

In November 2009, Pence was in Congress and President Barack Obama traveled to Beijing.

In at least two speeches Pence suggested that the president should have stayed home.

This week Pence is meeting with Chinese investors and government officials on an eight day trade mission.

“We’re also, Jim, recognizing the fact,” he said in a telephone interview, “that China is really looking to the United States for investment opportunities.”

But when the president went to China in 2009 his point of view was different.

“You know the president of the United States just said in China, quote, if we keep adding to the debt even in the midst of this recovery, people could lose confidence in the U.S. economy. Close quote.” he said on the House floor at the time. “Maybe it’d help if the president said that in America instead of China.”

So how is his trip different? “The opportunity for me to come to China and really tell Indiana’s story,” he said, “I think, is an important part of my job as governor.”

Pence was even more harsh in a 2009 speech to a dinner sponsored by the conservative magazine American Spectator.

“And where is the president this week?” he asked.¬†“In China visiting our money and being lectured on monetary policy by communist dictators.”

24-Hour News 8 questioned him about his trade mission again. Is it different from what the president was doing?

“I don’t recall that speech precisely,” he said, “and I don’t, you know, I think that, um, to the extent that I remember it, I think, it was at a time when our economy was struggling and, if memory serves, I was thinking the president should focus a little more on the domestic economy.”

It’s the latest example of how playing a partisan role in Congress is different from holding an executive office, whether it’s governor or president.

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