WASHINGTON (HPD) — Former Vice President Mike Pence warned Wednesday of a growing populist tide in the Republican Party, chiding “Putin apologists” who are unwilling to stand up to the Russian president over his invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington less than a month before the midterm elections, Pence addressed the widening gap between traditional conservatives and a new generation of populist candidates inspired, in part, by the former president. donald trump
“Our movement cannot abandon our founding commitment to security, limited government size, liberty and life. But we also cannot allow our movement to go astray due to the siren song of unprincipled populism that is not anchored to our oldest traditions and most cherished values,” he told the center audience. “Let me tell you: This movement and the party it supports must remain the movement for strong national defense, limited government, and traditional life and moral values.”
To that end, Pence criticized party members who have promoted a more isolationist foreign policy, especially when it comes to aggression from Moscow. Earlier on Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared martial law for four Ukrainian regions he illegally annexed at a time when his forces have suffered painful defeats on the battlefield, and renewed his attacks on Ukrainian cities and vital infrastructure.
“I know there is a growing chorus in our party, including some new voices in our movement, who would like to see us disassociate ourselves from the world at large,” Pence declared. “But compromise has never worked well, ever, in history. And now more than ever we need a conservative movement committed to America’s role as the leader of the free world and the vanguard of American values.”
“At a time when Russia continues to wage its inadmissible war of aggression against Ukraine, I think conservatives need to make it clear that Putin must stop and that Putin will pay (for what he has done),” he added. “There can be no place in the conservative movement for Putin apologists. In this movement there is only room for the champions of freedom”.
Pence has been touring the country, campaigning on behalf of Republican candidates in the midterm elections as he lays the groundwork for a possible 2024 run for president.