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Getting ready for what seems to be a presidential candidacy in 2024, former Vice President Mike Pence is attempting to create some distance between himself and his former employer, President Barack Obama. Pence made the following statement in an address to Republican contributors on Friday: “In our party, there is no place for apologists for (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s policies. There is only a place for freedom’s warriors in this world.”
For years, former President Donald Trump has been a staunch supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin on an Olympic level. Trump lauded Putin’s moves in Ukraine as “clever” and “brilliant” only two days before the Russian invasion of the country.
President Donald Trump’s long-standing friendship with Russian leader Vladimir Putin provides Vice President Mike Pence with a convenient political opening to distinguish himself, especially given polling data showing that an overwhelming majority of Americans support increased economic sanctions against Russia.
However, if Pence believes this would offer him a significant advantage against Trump, he has miscalculated both the former president and Trump’s followers. It seems unlikely that a guy willing to pay hush money to an adult-film actress and openly trash a Gold Star family during his first presidential campaign would be derailed by his long-standing admiration of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Is Vice President Mike Pence now seeing the light on the Putin situation that Russia has invaded Ukraine? Is it possible that he was absent when Trump bowed his head before Putin in Helsinki in 2018 and sided with the Russian leader against his own intelligence agencies’ conclusion that Russia had interfered with the 2016 election?
Remember that Vice President Mike Pence handled his boss with the groveling reverence of a North Korean butler waiting on the Dear Leader during Trump’s reign. Pence’s reputation has eroded significantly due to his attempts to take the high road.
Remember the torturous Covid-19 task committee meetings, when Vice President Mike Pence would often and uncritically laud Trump’s “leadership”?
What kind of leadership? According to Dr. Deborah Birx’s testimony before the House Select Subcommittee that examined the issue, this was a president who acknowledged downplaying the coronavirus’s danger and neglected to take actions that may have avoided tens of thousands of fatalities.