Persistent, multi-year shifts in atmospheric circulations and their associated influence on regional climates have profound impacts on physical, biological, and socioeconomic systems. The Pacific Decadal Precession (PDP), an atmospheric mode of variability consisting of a lower tropospheric height dipole which rotates counterclockwise over several years in the North Pacific, describes a series of such shifts in atmospheric circulations. One phase of the PDP, the north-south (N-S) phase, is hypothesized to be partially driven by central tropical Pacific (CP) sea surface temperature (SST) variability, but robust assessment of this dynamical connection in climate models remains to be done. In this study, we investigate this hypothesis with analyses in both reanalysis and selected models from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6) archive. We show that the emergence of the N-S phase is both related to and influenced by tropical Pacific decadal SST variability, specifically variability associated with CP El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events. When examining the CMIP6 model output, we find that most models cannot recover the characteristic cyclonic precession of the dipoles of the PDP, instead featuring only amplitude and sign changes of the N-S phase, Moreover, the models do not replicate the dynamical connections between the tropical Pacific and this North Pacific mode. Our results suggest that primary reasons for this inconsistency are that models inaccurately simulate both the SST pattern associated with the PDP, shared low-frequency power associated with CP ENSO events, and incorrect Rossby wavetrains emanating from the tropical Pacific into the North Pacific on quasi-decadal timescales. Taken together, our analyses offer another benchmark by which to test the fidelity of the climate model simulations in capturing Pacific decadal climate variability in order to improve decadal-to-centennial climate projections.