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Mike Pence declined CPAC’s invitation to speak at this year’s conference

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Former Vice President Mike Pence declined an invitation to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this week, CPAC Communications Director Ian Walters confirmed to this reporter Monday.

“We invited him and he did not take us up on the invitation,” Walters said, adding that this is the first time in 18 years that Pence will not speak at CPAC.

“I do know that he has been speaking at CPAC for a long time. My recollection is the first time was in 2003 when he was a House member,” Walters said.

“There’s a great deal of affection for him among grassroots conservative activists,” Walters added.

In an interview with USA Today, CPAC organizer Matt Schlapp expressed his regrets that Pence will not be in attendance.

“His conservative record is well respected, and conservatives want to hear his take on the current threats posed by socialism and this radicalized Democrat party,” Schlapp told USA Today, adding that it’s a “mistake” for Pence to not speak at the conference.

Pence has regularly spoken at the conference in previous years, however, a source told CNN that the former vice president is looking to stay under the radar for six months.

A Pence aide told Fox News Sunday that the former vice president has been intentionally keeping a low profile, focusing on family and his new charity partnerships.

The conference begins Thursday in Orlando, Fl, and it has has been labeled one of the year’s most important conservative political gatherings.

The conference will end Sunday, with former President Trump scheduled to give the closing remarks in his first public appearance since leaving the White House.

Sources familiar with the matter confirmed to The Hill that the former president will speak about the future of the Republican Party and the conservative movement. He is also expected to condemn President Biden’s immigration platform.

Fox News reported that Pence is still harboring “bitterness” toward Trump after the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol building, according to members of Pence’s team.

However, Walters did not comment on if Pence’s decision to not attend the conference had anything to do with Trump’s attendance.

“That’s really more of a question for Pence’s side to answer. I’m not sure what their thinking is. I’m not directly in touch with anybody in his office so anything I would say would be speculative,” Walters said.

Follow Annaliese Levy on Twitter @AnnalieseLevy

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Trump: Tanks to Ukraine could escalate to use of ‘NUKES’

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Former President Donald Trump stated bluntly on Truth Social,  “FIRST COME THE TANKS, THEN COME THE NUKES. Get this crazy war ended, NOW. So easy to do!”

Trump was referring to the escalation of war in Ukraine. He, like many other commentators and lawmakers, are warning that the decision to continue sending weapons – and now tanks – could potentially lead to the use of “nuclear weapons.”

It’s mission creep and it’s dangerous, they say.

Why? Because Russian President Valdimir Putin has indicated in two different speeches that he would use nuclear weapons to defend Russia, if needed. Those warnings are not just bluster but a very real possibility.

And the escalation of war is visible.

Russia launched 55 missiles strikes across Ukraine Thursday, leaving 11 dead. The strikes come one day after the United States and Germany agreed to send tanks to Ukraine in an effort to aide the country. 47 of the 55 missiles were shot down according to Ukraine’s Air Force command.

Eleven lives were lost and another 11 were injured additionally leaving 35 buildings damaged in the wake of the attacks. According to The New York Times, Denys Shmyhal, said in a post on Telegram. “The main goal is energy facilities, providing Ukrainians with light and heat,” he said.

Ukraine is now demanding that they need F-16 fighter jets. In a post on twitter Ukrainian lawmaker, Oleksiy Goncharenko said, “Missiles again over Ukraine. We need F16.”

The US has abstained from sending advanced jets in the chances that a volatile decision could foster more dangerous attacks like former President Trump’s post on Truth referred to. If the US did authorize the decision to lend Ukraine the F-16 jets Netherlands’ foreign minister, Wopke Hoekstra, would be willing to supply them. According to The New York Times, Hoekstra told Dutch lawmakers, “We are open-minded… There are no taboos.”

F-16 fighter jets are complex to work on, they are not the average aircraft that can be learned in a matter of weeks. It can take months for pilots to learn how to fly these birds. European and US officials have the concern that Ukrainian forces could potentially use the jets to fly into Russian airspace and launch attacks on Russian soil.

Western allies are trying to avoid such a provocation, because that could lead to nuclear warfare in reference to what Putin has said he would do to defend his country.

 

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