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Pence cuts South America trip short over Charlottesville violence, North Korean threat

Vice President Mike Pence is cutting his trip across South America short in order to meet with President Donald Trump and the national security team to discuss their South Asia strategy. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday announced his plans to return to the United States early over the controversy surrounding President Donald Trump and the Charlottesville, Virginia, violence as well as the potential nuclear threat from North Korea.

Pence was in South America discussing the political unrest in Venezuela when he received word of the domestic terror attack in Virginia, The Hill reported.

Trump received flack Tuesday for comparing George Washington to Gen. Robert E. Lee:

George Washington was a slave owner. Was George Washington a slave owner? So will George Washington now lose his status? Are we going to take down — excuse me — are we going to take down statues to George Washington? How about Thomas Jefferson? What do you think of Thomas Jefferson? You like him. Good. Are we going to take down his statue? He was a major slave owner.

When Pence was asked about Trump comparing Washington and Lee, he reiterated Trump's point.

“What happened in Charlottesville was a tragedy. And the president has been clear on this tragedy and so have I,” Pence said. “I spoke at length about this heartbreaking situation Sunday night in Colombia. And I stand with the president, and I stand by those words.”

Once Pence arrives stateside, he will travel to Camp David to meet with the president and the national security team to discuss their South Asia strategy moving forward, the Associated Press reported.

The vice president will leave on Thursday. He was originally scheduled to return to Washington on Friday.

According to The Associated Press, Pence is still planning to stop in Panama and tour the canal before returning to Washington, D.C.

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