Former President Donald Trump's administration was often characterized by its softness on Russia. In the first year of Trump's presidency, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina—a Trump supporter—acknowledged the administration had a "blind spot" when it came to Russia.
At a disastrous 2018 joint presser in Helsinki, Trump famously sided with Russian President Vladimir Putin over U.S. Intelligence officials who confirmed that Russia did, in fact, seek to interfere with the 2016 election for Trump's benefit. When Putin lied that the Russian government did no such thing, Trump took him at his word.
Now, former Vice President Mike Pence—who's somewhat estranged from Trump for not violating the Constitution by unilaterally throwing out the electoral votes of swing states Trump lost—appears to be mulling a 2024 presidential run.
This week, Pence delivered a speech to students at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where he sought to defend his record as Vice President, addressing his stance on Putin in the process.
Pence: I’ve also met Vladimir Putin. I stood toe to toe with him and told him things he didn’t want to hear… pic.twitter.com/Nm87SJKzuJ
— Acyn (@Acyn) April 12, 2022
"I’ve also met Vladimir Putin. I stood toe to toe with him and told him things he didn’t want to hear. And let me tell all of you, Putin only understands strength, and America must meet this moment with American strength."
But social media users remember that differently, and many began sharing details about the times Pence and Putin interacted.
One tweeter, @JoJoFromJerz, shared video of Pence interacting with the Russian President, appearing mostly speechless except to say "Okay."
Earlier tonight, Mike Pence said:
“I’ve also met Vladimir Putin. I stood toe to toe with him and told him things he didn’t want to hear…”
Well, I went back and looked.
So here’s Mike standing “toe to toe” with Putin.
Looks as if the only thing he said was “ok”.
Like 6 times. pic.twitter.com/K4aQX9vOrV
— Jo 🌻 (@JoJoFromJerz) April 13, 2022
Those weren't the only receipts.
LMFAO!! Mike wants us to believe he stood up to Putin..HAHAHAHA. C'mon Mike you're still praising Trump even after he sent his cult to hang you. JfC that's just pathetic! #PenceIsWeak https://t.co/ieQ2fADbLu pic.twitter.com/wJBO7cXi95
— Stayce 🌻 (@kaysosgma) April 13, 2022
Since Mike Pence is now claiming that “there’s no room in the Republican Party for Putin apologists,” it seems like a good time to remember that he was selected for Trump’s ticket by Paul Manafort and played an instrumental role in Trump’s withholding of military aid to Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/8pcQ80rjzC
— Andrew Wortman 🏳️🌈🇺🇦🇺🇸 (@AmoneyResists) March 5, 2022
The hits kept on coming.
Your administration spoke out against NATO, destabilized Ukraine, and sided with Russia.
I'm sure you told Putin a lot of things he did want to hear. https://t.co/wosNLSREza
— Aaron Parnas (@AaronParnas) April 13, 2022
"Toe to toe." Yeah, right.
A lot of politicians try to portray themselves as tough guys who might start throwing punches if it becomes necessary, but when Pence does it it's particularly comical. https://t.co/QSujNimqJJ
— Paul Waldman (@paulwaldman1) April 14, 2022
Claims the guy who spent 4 subservient years bootlicking Trump.
Yeah, OK Pence. 🧐 https://t.co/ZIMBInzyB5
— Tara Setmayer 🌻 (@TaraSetmayer) April 13, 2022
People don't seem convinced.