Mike Pence, a Trump Challenger in ’24?
Mike Pence is looking more and more like he is poised to mount a challenge to his former boss Donald Trump in 2024.
In his latest candidate-like move, the former VP slammed his own party, denouncing what he referred to as “apologists” in the GOP for Vladimir Putin without naming Trump directly. The comments came while he delivered a speech in Texas, where Pence also gave an unambiguous call for the US to ramp up its support for Ukraine.
Pence, who served in the White House for four years under former President Donald Trump, did not call out any of his fellow Republicans by name. But he suggested that his criticism targeted GOP leaders.
“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,” Pence said. “There can only be room for champions of freedom.”
“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,” Pence said later in the speech.
Of course, not all of Pence’s fire was aimed at his own party; he also took the opportunity to slam Joe Biden for being too hesitant to provide Ukraine with the supplies it needs to keep up the fight.
“History teaches that he who hesitates is lost,” Pence said.
The former vice president’s barbs came in a speech marking the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the largest and bloodiest military conflict in Europe since World War II.
Pence, speaking at the University of Texas at Austin’s Clements Center for National Security, urged the US and its allies to work “with increased speed” to inflict economic pain on Putin and his allies “until he relents” and pulls out of Ukraine.
He also called for America to “accelerate the pace of military provisions” to Kyiv and continue providing ample humanitarian assistance to the millions of people who have been caught up in the brutal conflict.
As to Pence’s former boss, Trump, when asked in an interview last week about sending money and arms to Ukraine, he warned that “we’re going to end up in World War III” and asserted that the conflict “would never have happened” if he was still president. Trump also boasted that he was “tougher on Russia than anybody else” but added, “I still got along with Putin.”
Although he has not yet officially declared his candidacy, Pence has openly said he’s considering a run for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, potentially pitting him directly against Trump.