On Friday, former Vice President Mike Pence chastised the members of the Republican Party who have praised Russian President Vladimir Putin in the recent weeks as the Russia-Ukraine conflict has finally culminated in Russia’s invasion of its neighbor. Former President Donald Trump was reportedly included in Pence’s criticism.
“There is no room in this party for apologists for Putin. There is only room for champions of freedom,” Pence said to a gathering of donors to the Republican National Committee.
His comments came as a criticism of Trump and other members of the party who have complimented Putin’s strategy and intelligence in directing the Russian invasion of Ukraine without provocation. Tensions had been building along the border for several months as Russia built up around one hundred thousand troops ahead of the attack.
Last week, the former president said on a radio show that Putin’s decision to unilaterally declare parts of eastern Ukraine as independent republics was “pretty savvy” and “genius.” Putin’s recognition of those two territories took place just ahead of the full-scale invasion.
Earlier this year, Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also described Putin as a “talented statesman” with “lots of gifts.” Additionally, Tucker Carlson, a Fox News host, questioned why Americans would hate Putin and noted that Ukraine is a country practically managed by the United States.
During the four years under Trump, his administration imposed harsh sanctions on Russia, but Trump often faced criticism over his praise of Putin and his rejection of the claims that Moscow had interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
In his speech, Pence also praised the strength of the NATO alliance, which so far has sent reinforcements to Ukraine, which is not a NATO member. “To those who argue that NATO expansion is somehow responsible for the Russian invasion of Ukraine, ask yourself, where would our friends in Eastern Europe be today if they were not in NATO?” Pence questioned.
ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: KTVQ.COM