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Former VP Mike Pence joins students to discuss foreign policy

Mike+Pence+speaks+virutally+from+Georgetown+University+to+Iowa+State+students+in+the+Memeorial+Union+on+Oct.+3%2C+2023.
Cleo Westin
Mike Pence speaks virutally from Georgetown University to Iowa State students in the Memeorial Union on Oct. 3, 2023.

Former Vice President Mike Pence joined Iowa State Students in a virtual open forum discussion Tuesday in the Memorial Union.

Pence joined a conversation at Georgetown University with students and Associated Press correspondents which was live-streamed to Iowa State University, Clemson University and the University of New Hampshire. Students at each of the universities submitted questions to ask Pence through a virtual conversation.

Iowa State students discussed topics like aid to Ukraine, climate change and conflicts with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s effect on international relations.

A standout in the conversation was Pence’s criticism of former President Donald Trump’s attack on former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley. Trump called Milley a traitor for phone calls the retired chief of staff made to China.

“Frankly, what Donald Trump said about him in that tweet—about treason and death—was utterly inexcusable,” Pence said.

Toward the end of the discussion, the Associated Press moderator interrupted with breaking news of the vote to oust House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Observers asked Pence what message he thought this action would send to other nations.

“Chaos is never America’s friend,” Pence said. “It’s never a friend of American families that are struggling. I’m deeply disappointed that a handful of Republicans would partner with all the Democrats in the House of Representatives to oust [the] speaker of the house.”

Pence also positioned his beliefs and platforms on American aid to the war in Ukraine.

“As the leader of the free world, I believe that it’s incumbent upon the United States to continue to provide the support to the Ukrainian military so that they can defeat and repel that Russian invasion and reclaim their sovereignty,” Pence said.

While supporting the continued aid to Ukraine, Pence said that the nation “had work to do” in combating corruption and strengthening democracy.

A University of New Hampshire student asked about Pence’s stance on responding to cyber attacks. Pence said there are interests all over the world that are constantly trying to collect information, adding that “the best defense is a good offense.”

Aidan Perry, a sophomore studying political science, was selected to ask Pence a question through the virtual meeting. He asked what Pence’s administration would do to prevent aggression from Azerbaijan against Armenia.

“I think it’s one more example of the need for strong, consistent American leadership on the world stage,” Pence said.

He compared the call for action to Russian violence in Ukraine.

The Daily asked Perry after the event what he thought of Pence’s response.

“I wasn’t happy with his answer,” Perry said.

Dave Peterson is a professor of political science at Iowa State and helped the Associated Press bring the open forum to campus.

“The main takeaways from Pence is that he has a clear message and vision for what American foreign policy should be,” Peterson said. “Again and again he returned to the idea that America needs to send strong and unambiguous signals about our support of our allies and that this will deter our rivals.”

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