DES MOINES — Former Vice President Mike Pence says the potential arrest of former President Donald Trump is “politically motivated” and Pence says that’s “deeply troubling.”

Pence spoke with reporters in Iowa Saturday, shortly after Trump announced he expected to be arrested Tuesday in connection with a New York grand jury probe.

“I think many Americans are taken aback at the unprecedented indictment of a former president, but also the fact that the Manhattan D.A., in the midst of a crime wave in New York City, says that indicting the former president is his highest priority,” Pence said. “It tells you everything you need to know about the liberal left in this country.”

Trump, in a post on his social media platform, called for protests. Pence said he respects the right of every American to speak their mind about the situation. “I think it’s extremely important people have a right to express themselves and express the frustration that they feel,” Pence said. “…But that being said, there can be no tolerance for the kind of violence that we saw on January 6th or throughout the summer of 2020.”

Pence was in Des Moines for a discussion about foreign policy that was hosted by Senator Joni Ernst and the Bastion Institute. Pence said America isn’t the world’s policeman, but, as the leader of the free world, the U.S. must support Ukraine to ensure peace in eastern Europe.

“The war in Ukraine is not a territorial dispute. It is a Russian invasion and I believe the United States of America needs to continue to demand that the free world join us in giving the courageous fighters in Ukraine the resources they need to repel the Russian invasion,” Pence said, to applause.

Pence’s remarks are in contrast to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a likely 2024 presidential candidate, who recently said the war is a territorial dispute and Ukraine is not of vital national interest to the United States.

“I’ve met Vladimir Putin…Anybody that thinks Vladimir Putin is going to stop if he takes Ukraine has what we say in this part of the country another thing coming,” Pence said. “…I know some people say we can’t take care of getting our economy moving again, securing our border, taking care of things here at home and doing that, but that’s a pretty small view of the greatest nation on earth. We can do both.”

Pence told reporters he’ll be making a decision about whether to launch a presidential campaign of his own this spring. He told the audience at the event Iowa’s Caucuses will again play “an outsized role” in shaping the nation’s destiny. “All of you Iowans, whether I’m seeing a lot more of you soon or not, embrace that role, find that leadership once again,” Pence said.

Pence, who served in the U.S. House for a dozen years, was Indiana’s governor when Trump chose him as his running mate in 2016.