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“Mike Pence Urges ‘New US Leadership’ and Backing for Israel Until Hamas is ‘Eliminated'” | US News

The former US vice president, Mike Pence, has told Sky News that America needs new leadership, and that the country should promise support for Israel until Hamas is “destroyed once and for all”.

Appearing to taking aim at his former boss – Donald Trump – under whom he served until they fell out as the January 6 riots at the US Capitol broke out in 2021 – Mr Pence said he wants voters to have a “fresh choice”.

“I think we need new leadership, but I’m going to look for ways that I can do my part to see that the Republican Party gives the American people a better choice,” he told Wilfred Frost on Sky News.

“A fresh choice and a new beginning. I’ll keep you posted on my position in the days ahead.”

Read more:
People from every walk of life thank me for stand we took, says Pence

Mr Trump is favourite to be Joe Biden’s opponent again in this November’s election, and the president warned earlier this week his potential opponent is “willing to sacrifice our democracy”.

It came as the US Supreme Court agreed to hear Mr Trump’s appeal over Colorado’s decision to disqualify him from its presidential primary elections.

Former President Donald Trump speaks during a commit to caucus rally, Friday, Jan. 5, 2024, in Mason City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Former President Donald Trump is appealing against his disqualification

Asked if democracy is at risk, Mr Pence told Sky News he has “great confidence” that US voters will “come together”.

“It’s my hope – and frankly, it’s my prayer – that we as Republicans will give the American people better choices to offer a new leadership,” said Mr Pence, who suspended his own campaign in October last year.

“As I said many times back when I was a candidate for president, I think different times call for different leadership.

“And while I know many of the pundits have already decided how things are going to work out, the American people have a funny way of making up their own mind.”

If Mr Trump does ultimately become the Republican nominee, Mr Pence said he “simply can’t support Mr Biden’s re-election” as an alternative.

‘Loss of innocent life lies with Hamas’

Despite his not willing to support his re-election, Mr Pence said he was “grateful” for Mr Biden’s “unconditional support” for Israel in its retaliatory war with Hamas after the 7 October attack.

But he went on to say that he has been “troubled” to hear of “backchannel pressure” the US was putting on Israel and his country should be sending a “clear and unambiguous message” that it will stand with Israelis “every day until the threat of Hamas is destroyed once and for all and peace and security can be re-established”.

Towards the end of last year, Mr Biden said Israel needed to be “more careful” and “save civilians” as it continued its bombardment of Gaza in retaliation for the attack by Hamas on 7 October.

Currently, US secretary of state Antony Blinken is in the Middle East where he is set to ask Israeli officials to do more to prevent civilian casualties in Gaza and that Palestinian civilians must be allowed to return home and not be pressed to leave Gaza.

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In full: Mike Pence speaks to Sky News

But after visiting the kibbutz known as Kfar Azar – one of the worst-hit communities during Hamas’ October attack – Mr Pence said: “I think when you literally walk the streets of the kibbutz and you look into these homes and the bloodstains and bullet-riddled walls, you understand that Israel is doing what needs to be done.

“Ultimately I believe that the innocent loss of life that has occurred in Gaza ultimately should be laid at the feet of Hamas and that’s why I believe Israel must continue to fight until the threat of Hamas is destroyed.”

Israel’s offensive since 7 October has so far killed 22,835 Palestinians in Gaza, according to Palestinian health officials on Sunday. Over the past 24 hours, a further 111 were killed and 250 were wounded.

Despite warnings from Mr Blinken that a conflict that could easily spread to other parts of the region, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to continue fighting.

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