Former Vice President Mike Pence on Friday rebuked fellow Republicans who have given less-than-strong support for America’s defense of Ukraine – a group that includes potential presidential campaign rivals like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Pence, in an exclusive interview with NBC News when asked about DeSantis’ position on US efforts to help repel Russia in Europe, said, “I would say to anyone that Vladimir Putin will stay in Ukraine, that’s wrong.” “
The interview came moments after Pence’s speech at the University of Texas on the anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Pence, who is considering running for president in 2024, said in his speech without naming names, “While some people in my party have taken a somewhat different approach, the Republican Party’s leadership for apologists for Putin There can be no room.” , “There can be room only for the champions of liberty.”
DeSantis, the widely expected Republican presidential nominee in 2024, has taken a very different stand. Earlier this week, he criticized President Joe Biden for visiting Ukraine, questioning the value of US spending to defend that country and downplaying the threat Russia poses to the US.
“An open-ended blank check” is “not acceptable,” DeSantis said in an interview on “Fox & Friends,” adding that “Russia is really, really wounded here and I don’t think they’re the same.” They are a threat to our country, even if they are hostile. I don’t think they are on the same level as China.”
Pence called that view misguided in a Friday interview with NBC News.
“We need to understand the real long-term danger of renewed Russian aggression in Europe,” he said. “And I believe it will not stop there.”
While Pence took issue with the “Biden administration” for being too slow to deliver weapons to Ukraine during his speech — and called for more sanctions on Russia of the variety announced on Friday — he also took issue with Biden in a speech in Warsaw, Poland. Also echoed the message given. , at the beginning of the week.
“We must stand with the people of Ukraine against the violence and aggression of the Russian military,” Pence said. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it.”
But while Pence slammed some GOP leaders for their actions in the face of Russia’s aggression, he praised the administration in which he served. Pence said that Russia did not try to seize the territory during the “Trump-Pence administration”.
Prior to the invasion, former President Donald Trump praised Putin’s moves as “brilliant” and “very smart” and has since argued that Russia would not have crossed the Ukrainian border if he were still president. On Friday, Pence did not directly address Trump’s balance on Ukraine.