Mike Pence Urges Republicans to Stand With Ukraine, Criticizes Biden Administration’s Response

Former Vice President Mike Pence delivered a strong message to the Republican Party on Friday, urging members not to be apologists for Russian President Vladimir Putin and to instead be “champions of freedom.” Pence made the remarks in an address at the University of Texas at Austin Clements Center for National Security, where he praised the Ukrainian people who have had to flee or stay in the face of Russian aggression.[0]

The former Vice President also spoke out against potential 2024 presidential campaign rivals like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has been critical of U.S. support for Ukraine, arguing that “an open-ended blank check is not acceptable.” In contrast, Pence called for additional economic sanctions against Russia and its leaders, as well as for more military aid and humanitarian assistance for Ukraine.[0]

The Biden administration followed through on Pence’s call on Friday, sending another $2 billion in military aid, sanctioning more than 200 people and entities, and increasing tariffs on Russian products. Pence, however, criticized the slow response time of the administration, arguing that the U.S. should have already been providing Ukraine with tanks and other military resources.[1]

Pence then highlighted the differences between his view and that of Trump’s, noting that Russia had not attempted any international aggression during the “Trump-Pence administration” while also stressing that U.S. support for Ukraine must not end.[1] He warned that “if we surrender to the siren song of those in this country who argue that America has no interest in freedom’s cause, history teaches we may soon send our own into harm’s way to defend our freedom.”[2]

Finally, Pence criticized President Biden for not visiting East Palestine, Ohio, in the wake of a toxic train derailment that occurred earlier this month.[3] Pence argued that the Biden administration’s absence from the situation was “one more example of ‘absent without leadership’” and concluded his speech by alluding to the prospect of a Republican replacing Biden in the White House.[4]

0. “Mike Pence criticizes Biden, GOP during UT Austin speech about Ukraine” KXAN.com, 23 Feb. 2023, https://www.kxan.com/news/local/austin/mike-pence-to-visit-ut-austin-to-discuss-1-year-anniversary-of-russias-invasion-of-ukraine/

1. “No ‘apologists for Putin’: Pence draws contrast with DeSantis on Ukraine” Yahoo! Voices, 25 Feb. 2023, https://www.yahoo.com/now/no-apologists-putin-pence-draws-004113811.html

2. “Pence Draws Contrast With Trump as He Defends US Aid for Ukraine” msnNOW, 24 Feb. 2023, https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/pence-draws-contrast-with-trump-as-he-defends-us-aid-for-ukraine/ar-AA17UnxU

3. “Ohio train derailment: Pence slams Biden for not visiting East Palestine” Washington Examiner, 23 Feb. 2023, https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/ohio-train-derailment-pence-biden-not-visiting-east-palestine

4. “Ohio train derailment: Pence slams Biden for not visiting East Palestine” Colorado Springs Gazette, 23 Feb. 2023, https://gazette.com/news/us-world/ohio-train-derailment-pence-slams-biden-for-not-visiting-east-palestine/article_c0820711-7873-5670-aa3c-b34096c4a738.html

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