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Pence Torched For Implying Trump To Blame For ‘Signaling Retreat’ From Israel

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Mike Pence, who used to be vice president, criticized his former boss and other Republicans for “signaling retreat” from Israel, which gave Hamas the chance to launch the worst attack on Israel in 50 years over the weekend.

In an interview with CNN, Pence made it clear that he thinks President Biden’s weakness has “emboldened the enemies of freedom around the world.”

Pence also blamed Biden and his hasty withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and negotiations with Iran, two nations that are considered enemies of the Jewish nation.

Below is a transcript of the interview (emphasis ours):

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BASH: “It’s also revealing a split among Republican candidates who want to be president. Let’s talk to one of them. Here with me now is former Vice President Mike Pence. Thank you so much for joining me. How worried are you that this could turn into a broader war that pulls in other countries in the region?”

Pence: “Well, first, I want to condemn this massive and unprovoked terrorist attack by Hamas against our most cherished ally, Israel. I mean, to hear the stories to — my wife and I have been to Sderot, a beautiful community that has never really been free from terrorist impact, as Chairman McCaul just said, but nothing on this scale for 50 years has happened. And I think now is the time for all of us to speak with one voice and say that America stands with Israel, and not only say that we will provide them with the resources and the means, but also that we will stand with them through the difficult days ahead. I think the fact that the American Embassy in Jerusalem initially issued a call for restraint that we have heard some moral equivalency, look, Israel has got to be given support from the United States and countries around the world to crush Hamas and to defend themselves in this moment. And I think it’s extremely important that we send that message, ‘We will stand with you today, we will make sure that Israel has the resources to defend itself,’ that the United States will send a message to countries around the world that they need to stand down and let Israel do what it needs to do to end this terrorist threat against them emerging from Gaza or anywhere else in Israel.”

BASH: “I’m not sure if you heard earlier in the program, the Secretary of State Antony Blinken told me that there are missing and dead Americans as part of these terror attacks. So, the question is whether or not you — if you were in the Oval Office right now, what would you do, given that situation? And these are reported dead and missing Americans.”

Pence: “Well, I — I’d want answers. But I want to make sure that we’re putting into Israel’s hands the ability to go and do the hard work that needs to be done. You know, it was back in the Bush Administration when they turned over Gaza to Hamas. I knew that would be a disaster then. It has been an utter historic failure. But in the wake of this unprecedented terrorist attack, land, sea, and air coming out of Gaza City, it’s just time for us to give Israel what they need to hunt down — to save those hostages, but also to recognize, Dana — I mean, look, I just — I know the way that world and global opinion turns so quickly against Israel, and I just think now, more than ever, we gotta call on this president, we gotta call on the Congress to make it clear that America stands with Israel.”

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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.”

BASH: “When it comes to Iran, I should say that there are some really intense sanctions imposed on Iran. And the administration notes — and they’re right — this didn’t come out of the U.S. Treasury, these are unfrozen — or they will be unfrozen Iranian funds, which hasn’t even happened yet. But I want to ask you about the praise that you — “

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Pence: “But, Dana — but it’s all about the posture. Our administration isolated Iran as never before. We put punitive sanctions on them. We got out of the Iran nuclear deal. And from day one of the Biden Administration, they have pursued a policy of appeasement toward the mullahs in Iran. And there is no question in my mind that Iran is behind, has subsidized, has approved, and in the last day has even applauded this extraordinary terrorist attack by Hamas against Israel. What we need to be doing is have leadership in the White House that will once again bring a maximum pressure campaign on Iran, isolate them as never before. I mean, when you see an agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran, when you see that China brokers that agreement, it really is evidence that there’s a vacuum of American leadership on the world stage that China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea are going to make an effort to fill. If I’m president of the United States — and that’s the debate here, whether we’re going to shrink from our role as leader of the free world or whether we’re going to lean in, in this moment in Israel and also in Eastern Europe, to say that we will not, we will not tolerate violence against authoritarian regimes, against terrorist regimes, we’re going to stand strong with our allies and stand up to our enemies.”

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