Former Vice President Mike Pence said on Sunday that his former boss Donald Trump is partly to blame for the attack on Israel over the weekend because of policies "signaling retreat" from the U.S.'s position as world leader.
Pence also said that weakness shown by President Joe Biden has “emboldened the enemies of freedom around the world” because they don't have much fear that the U.S. will do anything substantive to stop them.
“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,” he said.
Pence currently polls behind those candidates he mentioned, and far behind Trump who is the frontrunner by 30 to 40 points in most polls.
Pence has become bolder in his attacks on Trump as the campaign has gone on, although the two mainly got along well while Trump was president, at least until Pence balked at delaying the certification of election results when Trump suggested it because he believed there was fraud.
Pence equated the Israel attack with the attack by Russian on Ukraine in that both were unprovoked.
“And I really believe now more than ever, both 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," he said.
“The heartbreaking images coming out of both of those theaters of operation remind us that America is the indispensable leader of the free world,” Pence continued, “and if I’m president of the United States, we’ll lead from American strength.”
The attempt to distinguish himself from Trump has make him come off more like George W. Bush, whose involvement of the U.S. in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq was also partially justified as spreading democracy (in addition to America being attacked by some in those nations).
But those wars dragged on a lot longer than people wanted, making voters and leaders like Trump hesitant to involve the U.S. in further conflicts.
U.S. support for continuing to give billions to Ukraine has dropped as the war has dragged on, and it is likely that most Americans won't support getting involved in Israel's conflict either.
Around 1,000 Hamas fighters attacked Israel on its sabbath, blasting through a protective wall between Israel and Gaza and racing across Israeli territory murdering citizens, abducting hostages, and raping women as they went. At least 700 Israelis were killed in the violence, which is the worst there in 50 years.
Biden didn't give much of a response to the violence publicly at first, but moved resources closer to the region to provide material support for Israel.
It's a fine line between supporting democracy from the sidelines and having to be the world's policemen, and it seems like Trump and Pence are now on opposite sides of that line.