Former Vice President Mike Pence is blaming President Trump and other GOP rivals for the 2024 presidential nomination–but mainly Trump–for the attack by Hamas on Israel. In back to back attacks in a speech in Iowa on Saturday and a CNN interview on Sunday, Pence accused Trump, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy of “appeasement” and “signaling retreat.”
Pence said in an interview on CNN’s State of the Union, “This is what happens when we have leading voices like Donald Trump, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Ron DeSantis signaling retreat from America’s role as leader of the free world….When I’m President of the United States, we’ll lead from American strength.”
While Pence also cast blame on Joe Biden for “setting the conditions” for the attack, he went on to blame Trump for the attack. Pence also bizarrely blamed Trump for Russia’s war on Ukraine–connecting both attacks to Trump’s America first foreign policy that actually prevented war on Ukraine and Israel during his term in office.
This is what happens when we have leading voices like Donald Trump, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Ron DeSantis signaling retreat from America’s role as leader of the free world. When I’m President of the United States, we’ll lead from American Strength. pic.twitter.com/gW3HaN4fIp
— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) October 8, 2023
CNN host Dana Bash asked Pence about his comments in Iowa on Saturday where he accused Trump of “appeasement” and signaling retreat on the world stage” (Politico excerpt):
Former Vice President Mike Pence tore into Donald Trump and pointed to isolationism in the Republican Party as complicit in the sweeping Hamas attack on Israel, decrying American “retreat on the world stage.”
In a scathing rebuke, Pence faulted “voices of appeasement like Donald Trump, Vivek Ramaswamy and Ron DeSantis that I believe have run contrary to the tradition in our party that America is the leader of the free world.”
Pence’s comments in Iowa represented the first ripple in the Republican primary from the violence that erupted on Saturday — and effectively threw down a challenge to Republicans he said have “embraced the language of isolationism and appeasement.”
…“This is also what happens when you have leaders in the Republican Party signaling retreat on the world stage,” Pence said.
BASH: I want to focus sort of on this strain here. I want to focus on what you had to say about some of your fellow Republicans.
You said that this is what happens when leaders in the Republican Party signal Americans’ retreat as leader of the free world. Weakness arouses evil.
Are you talking about your former running mate?
PENCE: Well, I am, but let me begin where we ought to start.
I mean, that disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan has emboldened the enemies of freedom around the world. And now war is raging in Eastern Europe. And President Joe Biden’s kowtowing for the last two-and-a- half years to the mullahs in Iran, lifting sanctions, begging them to get back in the Iran nuclear deal, and then paying $6 billion in a ransom for hostages, I think set the conditions for this unprecedented terrorist attack by Hamas against Israel.
But I also believe this is what happens when we have leading voices like Donald Trump, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Ron DeSantis signaling retreat from America’s role as leader of the free world. I — look, what happened in Ukraine was an unprovoked invasion by Russia. What happened this weekend was an unprovoked invasion by Hamas into Israel.
And I really believe now, more than ever, both the debate within the Republican Party and the debate within America, is whether or not we’re going to once again stand without apology as the leader of the free world, as the arsenal of democracy.
The heartbreaking images coming out of both of these theaters of operations remind us that America is the indispensable leader of the free world. And if I’m president of the United States, we will lead from American strength.