Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said Wednesday during a swing through London that there are “very real threats” around the world, but he refused to share his foreign policy vision, saying he is there on a trade mission and that it is impolite to take potshots at President Obama during trips abroad.
The United Kingdom is becoming a regular stop for the emerging field of 2016 GOP White House contenders, who are eager to bolster their foreign policy chops, and make sure that the party does not cede ground on global issues to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal also recently traveled to London where they criticized President Obama on foreign policy.
Mr. Walker took a different tact.
“I just don’t think it is wise to undermine the president of your own country,” Mr. Walker said.
“I prefer being old fashioned and having respect for the president,” he said. “I just don’t think you talk about foreign policy when you are on foreign soil.”
Mr. Walker would only say that he knows, through the risk assessments he receives as governor, that there are “very real threats in this risks in this world not only around the world, but in our own country.”
“We take those very seriously,” Mr. Walker said.
His remarks came during an appearance at the Chatham House in London, where Mr. Walker spoke for about 15 minutes. He said the “special relationship” between the United States and the United Kingdom is built on “shared values.”
“Together we triumphed over the forces of evil, not once, but twice during two different world wars, and it is why we will conquer the new forces of evil that have affected the world even as we speak today,” he said.
During a question and answer session, Mr. Walker punted when given the chance to weigh in on the threat from the Islamic State and on whether the United States should “arm the Ukrainian rebels.”
“When I return to the states, I will probably give you an answer,” Mr. Walker said. “I don’t think it is polite to respond on policy regarding the United States interactions with other countries when you are in a foreign country.”
“I defer to the president, even though I don’t always believe in the same things he does politically,” he said. He noted that “a few of late” had weighed in on the Obama administration’s approach. “I just think it does against common practice.”
Mr. Christie traveled to London earlier this month, where he did not give a formal address during his trip to England, but did criticize Mr. Obama’s negotiations with Iran and Cuba.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal also delivered a speech in London last month in which he slammed the prospect of so-called Muslim “no-go zones” and suggested that the Obama administration has weakened the nation in international affairs.
“The events of the past several years clearly suggest that America’s allies are often less than certain that they can count on us, and our enemies too often do not fear us,” Mr. Jindal said.
Fresh off his third election win in four years, Mr. Walker has shot to the front of the pack in early 2016 polls.
The Des Moines Register also reported Tuesday that Mr. Walker because the first 2016 presidential hopeful to open an office in Iowa.