No one said it would be easy being Donald Trump’s running-mate.
And at a rally in Nevada on Monday, Mike Pence found himself treading a delicate line.
Indiana Gov. Pence defended the Republican candidate but also a military mother’s right to criticise Trump for his attacks on the Muslim parents of a US soldier killed in Iraq.
The woman, called Catherine, was initially applauded by the crowd when she said her son was in the air force.
But she was booed as she criticised Trump for his remarks, and then said to Pence:
“You have a son in the military. How do you tolerate his disrespect?”
Pence moved to quieten the crowd and tried to strike a balance between paying tribute to US Army Captain Humayun Khan, killed by a bomb in Iraq 12 years ago, and showing support for Trump.
“Captain Khan is an American hero and we honour him and honour his family as we do all Gold Star families in this country,” Pence told the rally in Carson City.
But he added: “Having spent time with our nominee, I have never been around someone more devoted to the armed forces of this country, more devoted to the families of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marine and coast guard, and no-one more devoted to the veterans in this country.”
Trump’s critics – among them prominent members of his own party – as well as the parents of decorated soldier, Captain Khan, may beg to differ.
Khizr Khan and Ghazala Khan took to the stage at last week’s Democratic convention,
Mr Khan showcased his son’s military service and criticised Trump’s call for a temporary ban on Muslims from entering the United States, holding up a copy of the US Constitution and suggesting Trump read it.
Since then, Trump has complained he was “viciously” attacked by the couple and suggested Ghazala Khan might not have been “allowed” to speak, implying her silence reflected restrictions placed on women by some traditional Muslims.
Mr. Khan, who does not know me, viciously attacked me from the stage of the DNC and is now all over T.V. doing the same - Nice!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 1 août 2016
This story is not about Mr. Khan, who is all over the place doing interviews, but rather RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISM and the U.S. Get smart!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 1 août 2016
Republican Senator John McCain, a former prisoner of war and the most prominent veteran in Congress, along with the commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, has joined the chorus of condemnation, reflecting the highly regarded place the military and its veterans hold with many in the United States.