Ripon, Wisconsin - Remarks by Vice President Pence on the Dangers of Socialism:
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, hello, Wisconsin! (Applause.) Thank you for that warm welcome. To Congressman Glenn Grothman, Congressman Bryan Steil, to state senators, members of the state legislature, honored guests, my fellow Americans: It is good to be here in Ripon, Wisconsin, the birthplace of the Republican Party. (Applause.) And it is great to be back in the Badger State with so many great Americans. (Applause.)
I thank you all for being here today. But allow me to begin by bringing greetings from another great fan of the Badger State. He’s a man who loves the state of Wisconsin, he’s been fighting to keep the promises that he made to the people of this state every day for the last three and a half years, and he was in this state just not too long ago. So allow me to bring greetings from the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump. (Applause.)
You know, in our first three years, President Trump did keep every promise that he made to the people of Wisconsin and people all across this country, and the results were extraordinary. I mean, we rebuilt our military. We cut taxes across the board. We rolled back regulations at a record pace, unleashed American energy, fought for free and fair trade. And in our first three years alone, businesses large and small created more than 7 million new jobs all across this country. (Applause.) Wages rose at their fastest pace in more than 10 years, 2 million Americans were lifted out of poverty, and 7 million Americans were lifted out of — out of food stamps. And beyond all of that, we reached the highest median income in the history of the United States. (Applause.)
It was an extraordinary three years of progress and renewal: rebuilding our military, reviving our economy. And then the coronavirus pandemic struck our nation. But President Trump took unprecedented action. He put the health and safety of America first from the very earliest days. Before the month of January was over, the President suspended all travel from China, stood up the White House Coronavirus Task Force. In fact, since the days that follows, we — we’ve not only developed a whole-of-government approach, but a whole-of-America approach. We’ve marshaled the full resources of America to save lives, protect the vulnerable, and to support the extraordinary work of doctors and nurses across this country.
And I’ll make you a promise: As we continue to respond to this coronavirus pandemic, we’re going to work 24 hours a day to ensure that all of our states impacted, all of our hospitals, and all of those great healthcare workers have the supplies and the resources they need to give every American the same level of care that we would want a member of our family to have. (Applause.)
We’re meeting this moment with American compassion and American resolve. And we’re also opening up America again. It’s extraordinary to think: At the height of this pandemic, our economy had lost 22 million jobs. But because of that strong foundation that President Trump laid of less taxes, less regulation, in two short months, May and June saw record-breaking job creation. We’ve already added 7 million jobs back to the American economy, and we’re just getting started. (Applause.)
But we all know, my fellow Americans, that we are passing through a time of testing for the American people. But soon, we will come to a time for choosing, which is what brings me here today. In 110 days, the American people have a choice to make. And the choice has never been clearer and the stakes have never been higher.
I came here to the city of Ripon, Wisconsin, where the Republican Party was born, to describe that choice. You know, when that first convention met here in 1854, they wrote that their decision to found a new political party had been, and I quote, “forced upon us by the slave power, and in the defense of freedom” they said they would “cooperate and be known as Republicans.” And so they have ever been. (Applause.)
Six years later, they elected the first Republican President, who ushered in the abolition of slavery and the advancement of our highest ideals. And four months from now, I know our party will reelect another Republican President, when we reelect President Donald Trump for four more years in the White House. (Applause.)
But it’s why I’m here today: to talk about what’s at stake and to talk about the choice our nation faces. Our economic recovery is on the ballot, but also are things far more fundamental and foundational to our country.
You know, it’s not so much whether America will be more conservative or more liberal, more Republican or Democrat, more red or blue. It’s whether America remains America. It’s whether we will leave to our children and our grandchildren a country grounded in our highest ideals of freedom, free markets, and the unalienable right to life and liberty — or whether we will leave to our children and grandchildren a country that is fundamentally transformed into something else.
Like those first Republicans, we stand at a crossroads of freedom. Before us are two paths: one based on the dignity of every individual, and the other on the growing control of the state. Our road leads to greater freedom and opportunity. Their road leads to socialism and decline.
President Trump set our nation on a path to freedom and opportunity from the very first day of this administration. (Applause.) But Joe Biden would set America on a path of socialism and decline.
America is a blessed and exceptional country, unique among the nations. We’ve been an asylum of hope for millions around the world “yearning to breathe free,” as the words on the Statue of Liberty declare. Many of our greatest citizens have come from the corners of the world ruled by socialist regimes. If you ever doubt whether this country is special and unique, just talk to one of them.
Before this pandemic, President Trump set our nation on that path of freedom and opportunity for every American regardless of race or creed or color. America’s families enjoyed record-low crime rates, record-high prosperity, the safety and security of a government devoted to law-abiding citizens in this country. But now, all of that is under threat.
Joe Biden has referred to himself as a “transition candidate.” But many were asking across this country: A transition to what? And now we have the answer.
Recently, Joe Biden combined forces with the socialist Bernie Sanders and the radical-left wing of the Democratic Party. And we don’t need to guess where they’re planning to take America. Biden and Sanders recently released a document from their Unity Task Force outlining their agenda for the country. And reading that document — you know, I thought Joe Biden won the Democrat primaries, but looking at their unity agenda, it looks to me like Bernie won. When you look at their agenda, the only thing it ended up unifying was Joe Biden to the radical left.
Contrary to their radical agenda, President Trump is rebuilding this economy based on freedom and free markets and the rule of law. And the American people know President Donald Trump did it once before and President Donald Trump will do it again. (Applause.)
At the root of the Biden-Sanders agenda is the belief that America is driven by envy, not aspiration — that millions of Americans harbor ill-will toward their neighbors, instead of loving our neighbors as themselves. The radical left believes the federal government must be involved in every aspect of our lives to correct those American wrongs. They believe the federal government needs to dictate how Americans live, how we should work, how we should raise our children — and, in the process, deprive our people of freedom, prosperity, and security. Their agenda is based on government control; our agenda is based on freedom. (Applause.)
I mean, just look at the contrast between our record and the Biden agenda.
President Trump cut taxes by $5.5 trillion — the largest tax cut and reform in American history. (Applause.) Joe Biden plans to increase taxes by nearly $4 trillion over the next decade alone, twice as much as Hillary Clinton ever proposed.
President Trump not only cut taxes, but we’ve — we’ve rolled back federal red tape at a historic pace. This President has actually repealed more federal regulations than any President in American history, enabling our economy to add nearly 8 million jobs in the last 2 months alone. Joe Biden — Joe Biden would impose an avalanche of regulations on our economy, stifling our recovery, and costing American jobs.
And when it comes to protecting American jobs, it was President Donald Trump who said “the era of economic surrender is over,” and he stood up to China. (Applause.)
We fought for free and fair trade. And just the other day, the President also signed an executive order holding China accountable for its treatment of Hong Kong. And we will continue to stand strong.
Joe Biden — well, Joe Biden pretends to be tough on China, but the reality is that Joe Biden has helped China all along the way: obtaining most-favored-nation status in the World Trade Organization. And the Obama administration did nothing, when Joe Biden was Vice President, to prevent the outsourcing of millions of jobs and manufacturing to that communist nation.
And President Donald Trump has stood for our highest ideals at home and abroad. It was President Donald Trump who withdrew America from the job-killing Paris Climate Accord and saved thousands of American jobs. (Applause.) Joe Biden wants to join the Paris Climate Accord again, placing a crushing weight on the American businesses and the American economy.
I mean, under President Trump, the United States has actually achieved energy independence, no longer relying on the Middle East for oil. And now America is a net exporter of energy for the first time in 75 years. (Applause.) Joe Biden would destroy our fossil fuel industry, return to the war on coal, prevent the development of America’s immense energy reserves, and impose a regime of climate change regulations on literally every new building in the United States — every home, every business — that would drastically increase the cost of living for families — and the cost of business, at the cost of jobs.
And where President Trump has increased choices and competition in healthcare and achieved a historic decline in the cost of prescription drugs, Joe Biden supports a government takeover of healthcare that would set us on an inexorable path to socialized medicine.
And President Trump believes in a strong border for the United States of America. (Applause.) As our President said many times: If you don’t have borders, you don’t have a nation. And as we stand here today, I’m proud to report, we’ve already built more than 200 miles of that border wall on the southern border of the United States. (Applause.)
And we’ve stood without apology for the courageous men and women of Customs and Borders Protection and ICE every day. (Applause.) Joe Biden is for open borders. Their agenda calls for an end to deportations; support for sanctuary cities; and free lawyers and free healthcare for illegal immigrants, all paid for by American taxpayers. It’s extraordinary.
And closer to home, this President has been a champion for allowing every parent to choose where their children goes to school regardless of their income or area code. President Donald Trump stands for school choice. (Applause.)
And here in Wisconsin, the birthplace of the school choice movement in America, you deserve to know — (applause) — Joe Biden would take away the right of parents to choose where their children go to school — public, private, or parochial. So you need to tell your neighbors and friends: Joe Biden wants to end school choice. Those are the facts.
But it’s not just been about our economy and about defending American jobs and health and educational opportunities. I couldn’t be more proud to be Vice President to a President who has stood without apology for the sanctity of human life. (Applause.)
By contrast, Joe Biden supports taxpayer funding of abortion, repealing the Hyde Amendment, ending a Mexico City policy that prevents federal funding from supporting abortions around the world. And Joe Biden even supports late-term abortion — allowing innocent, unborn children to be aborted right up to the moment of birth.
So it’s about our economy, it’s about our wellbeing, it’s about our values, but it’s also about the security of our nation at home. And let me say, and don’t ever doubt: President Donald Trump and this administration stand with the men and women of law enforcement. (Applause.)
The President and I know the men and women that put on the uniform of law enforcement every day are the best of us. They risk their lives every day. They consider our lives more important than their own. And they have our support.
We know that it’s a false choice to think that we have to choose between supporting law enforcement and supporting our African American neighbors and friends.
Under President Donald Trump, we will support law enforcement, improve public safety, and stand with African American families and all our minorities to improve the quality of life in our cities and towns. (Applause.)
By contrast, Joe Biden believes America is, in his words, systemically racist. And despite historically low crime rates prior to this pandemic, Joe Biden believes that law enforcement in America has a, quote, “implicit bias” against minorities.
Just recently, when asked whether he’d support defunding the police, Joe Biden capitulated to the radical left-wing mob. He was asked if he’d support cutting funding to law enforcement, and he replied, and I quote, “Yes, absolutely.”
Joe Biden would weaken the Thin Blue Line that separates order from chaos. Under President Trump, we will stand with those who stand on the Thin Blue Line, and we will never defend — defund the police. We will defend the police every day. This President and this administration will back the blue. (Applause.)
The hard truth is: You won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America. The radical left’s experiment in defunding the police is failing families and cities across this country already.
Recently, amid defunding efforts around America, cities are struggling with rising crime rates. Atlanta saw a 19 percent rise in shootings, a 9 percent increase in murders. In Chicago, a 42 percent rise in shootings and a 39 percent increase in murders. And in Philadelphia, a 54 percent rise in shootings and nearly 20 percent increase in murders.
As a result of Mayor de Blasio’s disbanding of the Anti-Crime Unit in New York City — which is a decision many African American leaders are begging him to reverse — that city has already seen an increase of a staggering 277 percent, and the number of victims have skyrocketed by 253 percent. These are shocking numbers, but not surprising.
Right here in Wisconsin, the city of Milwaukee has already seen a 50 percent increase in nonfatal shootings and 100 percent increase in murders from the same time last year. It’s on pace to break the record of homicide rate that was set 30 years ago.
This is a frightening preview of Joe Biden’s agenda in action. After years of plummeting crime rates under President Donald Trump, Joe Biden would double down on the very policies that are leading to unsafe streets and violence in America’s cities.
When you hear Joe Biden call for defunding the police, remember what’s at stake: law and order, safety, and the peace of mind that you, your family, and your children have every right to enjoy as citizens of this country.
When you consider Joe Biden’s agenda and his embrace of the radical left, it’s clear: Joe Biden would be nothing more than an autopen president, a Trojan horse for a radical agenda — so radical, so all-encompassing that it would transform this country into something utterly unrecognizable.
It’s no wonder that socialist Bernie Sanders said that if Joe Biden was elected, he would, in his words, “transform the country” and be, and I quote, “the most progressive President” in nearly a century.
The Biden-Sanders agenda would set America on the path of socialism and decline. And as our nation endures this time of testing, we’d do well to tell our neighbors and friends that it’s also the time for choosing.
We need to tell our fellow Americans that we can choose to stay on a path that starts from the belief in the goodness of the American people, that starts from the premise that America is exceptional, is founded on freedom, and always striving for a more perfect union.
Just last week, President Trump spoke at a roundtable with a Cuban immigrant by the name of Maximo Alvarez. Maximo escaped communist Cuba when he was 13. He was one of the last kids to flee with a group of nuns whose convent had been taken over by the communist dictator that Bernie Sanders praised in the past.
Maximo had a stark warning for our country at that forum. He said, and I quote, “What’s happening in our backyard today, I experienced as an 11-year-old.” Maximo went on to say, “I remember vividly all the promises that Castro gave. I remember the promises that we hear today about free education, free healthcare, free land.” And then he recalled what his father told him about the glory of being an American. Maximo said that his father told him, “Don’t lose that place, because if you lose that place, you’ll have no place to go.” America is a beacon of hope and freedom for all the world. (Applause.)
Maximo’s admonition reminds us of the words of another Republican President who famously reminded us that “freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same or, President Reagan added, “one day, we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like to live in the United States when men were free.”
We have to fight for our freedom again. President Ronald Reagan was right in his time. And I promise you: That fighter in the White House will never stop fighting for freedom. President Donald Trump will continue to fight for the freedom of every American, and so we must fight with him. (Applause.)
My fellow Americans, that’s the choice we face. We have two paths before us: one of freedom and opportunity, the other of socialism and decline. We can either be true to ourselves and what’s made this nation a beacon of hope for all the world, or we can become like the very places that many of our ancestors fled and that many still flee to come here.
In pondering the decision that lies before us, I can’t help but think of the words of the great American poet Robert Frost — my wife’s favorite poet. He wrote, and I quote, “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”
The truth is, through the long and storied history of this country, Americans have always chosen the road less traveled by: the road of freedom, individual responsibility. And I know we will do so again.
I know this because, like our President, and those who founded the Republican Party so many years ago here in Ripon, I believe in freedom, and I know this is a freedom-loving nation. (Applause.) I know the love of freedom beats in the heart of every American. And I know we will choose well, again, in this November, because I have faith — faith that every time the American people have given the choice between more freedom and less freedom, they stand for freedom, they fight for freedom, and they choose freedom every single time. (Applause.)
This is a freedom-loving nation, and it’s also a nation of faith. And it’s on that hope I stand as well. The Bible says, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” And so millions of Americans believe, as I do, that when we stand up for the God-given freedoms of life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness, the freedoms won and defended throughout our nation’s history, we make his work on this Earth our own, and that means freedom always wins. (Applause.)
So that’s the choice we face, my fellow Americans: between freedom and opportunity or socialism and decline. And I have no doubt, as all of us do all that we can, even in these challenging times between now and November 3rd, we’ll see our way through. We’ll be there for our neighbors and friends, we will heal our land, and then we will win a great victory for freedom and our very way of life. And with President Donald Trump in the White House for four more years, we’ll make America great again, again.
Thank you all very much. (Applause.) God bless you. God bless Wisconsin. And God bless America.