Former Vice President Mike Pence on Friday delivered an impassioned speech at the University of Texas at Austin, delivering a full-throated defense of U.S. assistance to Ukraine and warning that failure to support Kyiv could draw the U.S. into a broader conflict and threaten the sovereignty of NATO allies. Pence’s speech came on the one-year anniversary of the war and was in response to comments made earlier in the week by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
In an exclusive interview with NBC News after the speech, Pence was asked about DeSantis’ position on U.S. efforts to help repel Russia in Europe. “I would say anyone that thinks that Vladimir Putin will stop at Ukraine is wrong,” Pence said. “There’s one person to blame for the unfolding of Russian aggression in Ukraine, and that’s Vladimir Putin. While some in my party have taken a somewhat different view, let me be clear: there can be no room in the leadership of the Republican Party for apologists for Putin. There can only be room for champions of freedom.”
Vice President Pence urged the US and its allies to increase sanctions against Russia and to continue furnishing Ukraine with military supplies and humanitarian assistance, as the Russian incursion into the country has reached its second year. He also argued that “elections have consequences” and that the Biden administration had been too slow to deliver weapons to Ukraine.
“We need to understand the real long-term threat of renewed Russian aggression in Europe,” Pence said. I believe that this is just the beginning and there is more to come. I submit to you the fastest path to peace is to help Ukraine win the war. 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.
Pence’s last visit to Austin was in 2019, when he gave remarks at a “Trump Victory luncheon that was closed to reporters. He also criticized the Biden administration for not visiting East Palestine, Ohio, in the wake of a toxic train derailment that occurred earlier this month. “It really is remarkable when you think about the fact that it’s going to be three weeks since that train derailment and all the hardship that those families in East Palestine have faced before,” Pence said.
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. “Pence breaks with DeSantis over Ukraine position: Putin will not stop at Ukraine” Yahoo News, 24 Feb. 2023, https://news.yahoo.com/pence-breaks-desantis-over-ukraine-235527373.html
2. “Pence says there’s ‘no room’ in GOP leadership ‘for apologists for Putin'” Washington Examiner, 24 Feb. 2023, https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/campaigns/pence-trump-russia-ukraine-putin