Pence warns of ‘unprincipled populists,’ ‘Putin apologists’

Washington: Former Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday warned against the growing populist tide in the Republican Party as he admonished “Putin apologists” unwilling to stand up to the Russian leader over his assault on Ukraine.

Speaking at the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington less than a month before November’s midterm elections, Pence addressed the growing gulf between traditional conservatives and a new generation of populist candidates inspired, in part, by former President Donald Trump.

“Our movement cannot forsake the foundational commitment that we have to security, to limited government, to liberty, and to life. But nor can we allow our movement to be led astray by the siren song of unprincipled populism that’s unmoored from our oldest traditions and most cherished values,” he told the think tank audience. “Let me say: This movement and the party that it animates must remain the movement of a strong national defense, limited government, and traditional moral values and life.”

To that end, Pence criticized those in the party who have pushed a more isolationist foreign policy, particularly when it comes to Russian aggression. Earlier Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared martial law for four illegally annexed Ukrainian regions as his forces have suffered stinging battlefield defeats and renewed attacks on Ukrainian cities and vital infrastructure.

Pence has been traveling the country, campaigning on behalf of Republican midterm candidates as he lays the groundwork for a potential 2024 presidential campaign.

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