WASHINGTON — The Latest on Mike Pence in the 2016 presidential campaign (all times EDT):

4:50 p.m.

Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence is defending the son of his running mate after Donald Trump Jr. compared Syrian refugees to poisoned candy.

Pence told MSNBC in an interview Tuesday that the younger Trump was simply using a “metaphor.”

Trump Jr. posted on his social media account Monday the image of a bowl of multicolored candies called Skittles. He asked his Twitter followers, “If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you, would you take a handful?”

Trump’s father is Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. He has called for suspending the refugee program that admits Syrians fleeing the war-torn country once they clear a vetting process that both Trump men suggest is non-existent and admits terrorists.

Pence said it is “remarkable to see the level of outrage” about the tweet when Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has called for admitting more refugees to the United States.


2:54 p.m.

Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence is avoiding answering whether a Trump administration would reverse an Obama administration policy that allows transgender men and women to serve openly in the U.S. military.

Pence was asked about the policy Tuesday during an event the campaign billed as a veterans round table on the decommissioned USS Wisconsin in Norfolk, Virginia.

The Indiana governor said, “What should drive our military is the mission.” He added that Donald Trump’s military policy would be “driven by common sense” and prioritize “unit cohesion.”

He did not mention transgender service members, but Pence’s answer echoed some criticism of the Obama administration policy. Some retired military personnel frame the policy as a “social experiment” that will damage unit cohesion and threaten the military’s ability to carry out missions.