Des Moines, Iowa - Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center - Remarks by Vice President Pence at Faith in Leadership: The Need for Revival:
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, hello, Iowa!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: To Bob Vander Plaats, his wife Darla, all of my fellow Americans: It’s great to be back in the Hawkeye State with all of the amazing men and women of the Family Leader. Give yourselves a round of applause. What a great organization. (Applause.)
It’s great to be here today, just 33 days from what I believe will be a great victory for faith and family all across Iowa and all across America. (Applause.)
And I — I want to thank Dr. Ben Carson for those inspiring words and for his friendship. Abraham Lincoln said his only ambition in life was to be esteemed by people he esteemed. And I have to tell you, America is blessed by the steady, principled, faith-filled leadership of Dr. Ben Carson. Would you join me in thanking Ben Carson for all that he means to the life of this nation? (Applause.) We cherish you and Candy so much. Thank you, Ben.
Ben and I have gotten to know each other over the last several years, serving shoulder to shoulder. And a better man I’ve never known. But Ben does know that the introduction I prefer is a little bit shorter — (laughter) — I’m a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order. And it is wonderful to be here with the Family Leader. (Applause.)
I want to say thanks also, to Bob Vander Plaats and his amazing wife Darla for all they’ve done for the cause of conservative and pro-family values here in Iowa and in more than a dozen states across the country. Bob and Darla, for all you’ve done strengthening families, for all you’ve done to promote faith and leadership and revival — can we hear it for Bob and Darla and the Family Leader team for all they’ve done? (Applause.) Thank you all for being a part of this vital ministry in the life of the nation. We’re so grateful. (Applause.)
You know, Bob and Family Leader are really emblematic of a very rich tradition in the United States of America. I mean, even a casual study of the history of this nation shows the people of faith have made the difference throughout our country’s history from the very founding of the nation: the Robed Regiments of the American Revolution, the preachers of revival in our great awakenings, the way that the pulpits of America thundered for abolition of slavery and led the Civil Rights Movement. It has been people of faith, I believe with all of my heart, who have led us toward a more perfect union. And I want to congratulate and thank each and every one of you for being a part of continuing that great American tradition. (Applause.)
But it’s so good to be here with so many friends, including a man who — I thought he was from Minnesota. But he is a man of faith who’s been a champion of everything that we hold dear. And he actually was kind enough to bring my sister and my niece down from Minnesota. Would you join me in thanking Mike Lindell and the whole team just down from My Pillow? (Applause.) Thanks for all you do for people of faith in the conservative cause, Mike.
So thanks to all the friends who are here. And speaking of friends, allow me to bring greetings from another friend of mine — a man who I can tell you firsthand has fought to keep the promises that he’s made to people of faith, people dedicated to family, people who believe in freedom every single day the last three and a half years. I bring greetings from the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump. (Applause.)
I don’t know if y’all had a chance to see that debate night before last? I’ll tell you what, if you ever doubted that we had a fighter in the White House, you don’t doubt it anymore. President Donald Trump took our case to the American people and he took the fight to Joe Biden.
And in case you didn’t know it, I’m headed to Salt Lake City next week to debate with his running mate. And I promise you, President Trump and I are going to keep on fighting for faith and family and freedom, and we’re going to fight 33 days to earn four more years in the White House. (Applause.)
And we’re going to tell our story. And I challenge each and every one of you to do the same because we’ve got an incredible story to tell about what we’ve accomplished for this country.
I mean, the truth is President Trump has literally kept the promises that he’s made to the people of Iowa and all the states so well represented here at the Family Leader.
But think about it, four years ago, we inherited a military that had been hollowed out by devastating budget cuts, an economy struggling to break out of the slowest economic recovery since the Great Depression, terrorism was on the rise around the world, and — and worst of all, we had witnessed eight years of a steady assault on our most cherished values and liberties.
And I’m here to tell you, three and a half years on from when the people of Iowa said yes to President Donald Trump, I couldn’t be more proud to report — not just as your Vice President, but as the father of a Marine and the proud father-in-law of a United States Navy pilot — we rebuilt our military. We restored the arsenal of democracy. (Applause.)
President Donald Trump has signed the largest increases in our national defense since the days of Ronald Reagan. And we’re finally giving our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Space Force the resources and the support that they need to defend this land of freedom. (Applause.)
And with that renewed American strength, under the President’s leadership, our armed forces have taken the fight to radical Islamic terrorists on our terms, on their soil.
Where Joe Biden sent pallets of cash to the mullahs in Iran, President Donald Trump got us out of the Iranian nuclear deal. And I was there when President Donald Trump, without hesitation, gave the order to take out the world’s most dangerous terrorist, and Qasem Soleimani is gone.
But President Donald Trump has put the security of America first. And in our first three years, our President also took decisive action to revive the American economy. Where Joe Biden has plans to raise taxes across the board, President Donald Trump has cut taxes for small businesses and large, cut taxes for working families.
We rolled back, in those first three years, more federal red tape already than any President in American history. We unleashed American energy. We fought for free and fair trade. And in just three short years, businesses large and small created more than 7 million good-paying jobs, including nearly 12,000 jobs right here in Iowa. (Applause.)
So it’s been about security. It’s been about prosperity in these first three years. And every step of the way, your President and our administration have stood for the rule of law and the principles we cherish.
As I stand before you today, we’ve seen confirmed more than 230 conservative judges to our federal courts at every level. And I can tell you, they are all men and women who will uphold the God-given liberties enshrined in our Constitution, like the freedom of speech, the freedom of religion, and the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. (Applause.)
Last week, we paused as a nation to honor the life of service of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, but after the memorials were over, President Donald Trump did his duty. The Constitution provides that the President shall nominate judges to the Supreme Court in the event of a vacancy. And President Donald Trump did just that when he nominated a remarkable, principled, conservative woman of amazing intellect and a beautiful family who will uphold the Constitution of the United States to our Supreme Court; he nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett. (Applause.)
Two days ago, I had the privilege of escorting Judge Barrett to the United States Senate. She’s on Capitol Hill all this week, meeting with members of the Senate. We challenge Democrats in the Senate to provide Judge Barrett with a respectful and dignified hearing, and to give America the kind of confirmation process the American people deserve.
But we have reason to be concerned. You all remember her last confirmation hearing just a few short years ago, when she was nominated to the Court of Appeals. During Judge Barrett’s confirmation hearing, the Democratic Chairman of the Judiciary Committee criticized her Catholic faith, saying that, quote, “The dogma lives loudly within you.” And Hollywood elites have already begun to criticize her and her family for their commitment to their faith.
Well, I got news for the Democrats and the Hollywood elites: That dogwa [sic] — dogma lives loudly in me. That dogma lives loudly in hundreds of millions of Americans. (Applause.) And every American who cherishes faith has the right to live and work and worship according to the dictates of our faith and conscience enshrined in the Constitution of the United States. (Applause.)
The American people cherish the freedom of religion of every American and every faith. And these attacks on Judge Barrett’s faith must stop. (Applause.) The Senate has a job to do: discharge their duty to advise and consent. And we’ll work with any willing member of the Senate to do just that.
But I’ll tell you, we’re going to fill that seat and Judge Amy Coney Barrett is going to be Justice Amy Coney Barrett on the Supreme Court of the United States. (Applause.)
So President Trump has stood for the rule of law. He kept his word to the people of Iowa and all the great states represented here and all of our country when he appointed those principled conservatives to our courts at every level, all the way through Judge Barrett’s nomination.
And every single day of this administration, President Donald Trump and I have stood without apology for the men and women who serve on the Thin Blue Line of law enforcement. (Applause.)
I think people in the Family Leader know: Men and women who serve in law enforcement are some of the best people in this country. You know, President Trump and I, like all of you, will always support and defend the constitutional right of every American to engage in peaceful protest. But rioting and looting is not peaceful protest, burning businesses is not free speech, violence against innocent civilians or property or law enforcement will not be tolerated, and those who do these things will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. (Applause.)
Now, for months, all Joe Biden talked about was peaceful protests. Remember that? An entire summer, as Americans living in our major cities literally watched businesses in their communities burn.
Mike, I was just in Minneapolis, just a few short days ago, and I traveled into the heart of the city that had been beset by the rioting and the looting and the violence that followed the killing of George Floyd. I spent some time with Flora Westbrooks, an extraordinary African American woman. She started a florist salon 35 years ago, and yet she watched in horror just days after that terrible event as looters moved closer and closer and closer and burned her and her son’s business to the ground.
But I told Flora, “We are with you. The American people are with you, and we’re going to rebuild Flora’s salon in Minneapolis.” (Applause.) And so we are.
You know, the truth is Joe Biden would actually double down on the policies that have led to violence in America’s cities. You know, when you withdraw support for those who serve and protect, I believe that you embolden those who threaten our families and our peace in the streets.
Joe Biden actually says that America is, in his words, “systemically racist” and that law enforcement has, and I quote, an “implicit bias” against minorities. When Joe Biden was asked if he’d support cutting funding for law enforcement, he replied, “Yes, absolutely.” And his running mate said again, earlier this week, that it was time to, quote, “reimagine law enforcement.”
Well, let me make you a promise: Under President Donald Trump, we’re not going to reimagine anything; we’re going to back the blue. And we’re not going to defund the police — not now, not ever. (Applause.)
President Trump and I know you don’t have to make a choice between supporting law enforcement and supporting our African American neighbors or other minorities in our communities. We have done both and will continue to do both with four more years in the White House.
Under this President, we’ve provided resources to hire 4,000 more police officers. This summer, in the wake of violence in our cities, we launched Operation LeGend. And we’ve already seen to the arrest of more than 2,500 violent offenders in our major cities.
The program itself was named after a four-year-old boy who was shot and killed in gang violence while he slept in the pillow fort that he and his dad constructed. So we’ve supported law enforcement, but I couldn’t be more proud to be Vice President to a President, whose policies saw, in our first three years, the lowest unemployment ever recorded for African Americans; the highest investment in historically black colleges and universities; 8,000 Opportunity Zones in every major city, attracting investment and jobs; and a President who has fought to let parents in our inner cities choose where their children go to school, regardless of their income or area code. (Applause.)
So we’re going to continue to support law enforcement. We’re going to continue to support our African American families with better opportunities, better education, and more public safety. And under President Donald Trump, we’re going to have law and order in every city, in every state in this nation for every American of every race and creed and color, so help us God. (Applause.)
So we’ve made incredible progress. But as supporters and friends of the Family Leader know, in President Donald Trump you’ve — you’ve had a leader who’s kept his promises to people of faith like no other in my lifetime.
You know, it’s remarkable to think that four previous Presidents in both political parties had promised the American people and our most cherished ally to take action. But it was President Donald Trump who kept that promise when he moved the American embassy to Jerusalem — the capital of the State of Israel. (Applause.)
And I was alongside the President when the phone started to ring and he was preparing to keep that promise, Bob. And to say that virtually every leader in the world and every foreign policy elite in Washington, D.C., was against it would be an understatement. I mean, one call after another — didn’t they, Ben? — that said, “Don’t do it. Don’t do it.” They said that it would make peace less possible, but President Donald Trump believed that it would make peace more possible.
The man who wrote “The Art of the Deal” had the view that if you want to negotiate peace, the first thing you do is you take off the table what’s non-negotiable — and Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish state of Israel. (Applause.)
And confirming the President since — I don’t know if you all saw it just a couple short weeks ago — for the first time in 26 years, two Arab nations formally recognized the Jewish state of Israel, and we believe there are more on the way. (Applause.)
And beyond the strong stand and the keeping of promises, I will tell you, I couldn’t be more proud to serve as Vice President to a President who stands without apology for the sanctity of human life. (Applause.) President Donald Trump is the most pro-life President in American history. (Applause.) That’s true. It’s true. (Applause.)
On just our fourth day in office, the President reinstated what’s known as the “Mexico City policy,” ending taxpayer funding of foreign programs that provide or promote abortion around the world. And it was this President — this President, who, earlier this year, became the first President since Roe v. Wade to go to the National Mall and address the March for Life in person. We stand with those who stand for life. (Applause.)
But you deserve to know that Joe Biden and the radical left support taxpayer funding of abortion all the way up to the moment of birth. They’re calling for historic increases in funding for Planned Parenthood of America. And after spending an entire career, since Roe vs. Wade, supporting what came to be known as the Hyde Amendment — a great piece of legislation by the late Henry Hyde that prevented taxpayer dollars from being used to pay for abortions in America — last year, Joe Biden reversed his historic position in support of the Hyde Amendment, and now supports taxpayer funding of abortion.
You know, I must tell you — and Ben mentioned how many tie-breaking votes I’ve cast as Vice President — but I got to tell you, the one I’m proudest of was the day I was able to cast the tie-breaking vote in the United States Senate to allow states to defund Planned Parenthood. And President Donald Trump signed it into law. (Applause.)
So we’ve stood for life. And from day one, this President has also stood strong for what’s come to be known as our “first freedom,” and that is religious freedom enshrined in our Constitution.
Early on in our administration, the President took steps to free up the pulpits of America. We believe that the freedom of speech should not end at the front doors of our churches, synagogues, and houses of worship. And President Donald Trump stopped enforcement of the Johnson Amendment and restored the freedom of speech to leaders of faith. (Applause.)
We’ve also taken steps to respect the conscience rights of doctors and nurses and teachers and religious charities all across America. And it was this President and this administration that ended the assault on the Little Sisters of the Poor, and the Supreme Court made it permanent just weeks ago. (Applause.)
It’s remarkable to think that a group of nuns that have taken a lifetime vow of poverty to support and help the underserved community were hauled into court, when Joe Biden was Vice President, for the sole purpose of requiring them to compromise their faith to live under the strictures of Obamacare. The Supreme Court actually voted by 7 to 2 to make permanent the efforts to conform the Little Sisters of the Poor to Obamacare.
But Joe Biden has already announced that, if elected President, he’ll re-impose the Obamacare mandates on the Little Sisters of the Poor and on religious institutions. And his own running mate actually attacked one of our judicial nominees for being a member of the Catholic Knights of Columbus.
So let me just say: These attacks on the freedom of religion must stop in America. And with four more years, we will stand for the religious freedom of every American of every faith. (Applause.)
So we accomplished so much in our first three years. We rebuilt our military, revived our economy, stood for life and our liberties and law and order and the faith and freedom of every American.
In three short years, as I like to say, we made America great again. We did. (Applause.)
But then, as Ben shared — and he’s a valued member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force — then the coronavirus struck from China. But I want you all to know that before the very first documented case of community transmission within the United States, our President did what no American President had ever done before. Before the month of January was out, he suspended all travel from China, the second largest economy in the world.
Now, Joe Biden called it “hysterical.” He called it “xenophobic.” But I can tell you, as the head of the task force, that action alone saved untold American lives, and it bought us invaluable time to stand up the largest national mobilization since World War Two. (Applause.)
We reinvented testing. More than 100 million tests performed to date and 150 million new point-of-care tests that are being distributed to states all across the country as we speak.
We worked with manufacturing, here in Iowa and all across the country, to see to the production and the distribution of literally billions of medical supplies for our doctors and nurses and healthcare workers.
Our FDA worked to make new medicines available, like remdesivir and convalescent plasma. And I’m proud to report to you that with American innovation — our dedicated researchers — we believe are just literally weeks away from the first coronavirus vaccine for the American people. And we’ll have tens of millions of doses available the moment that it’s approved. (Applause.)
We’ve demonstrated as a nation that we can slow the spread. We’re going to continue to protect the vulnerable, continue to save lives. And we’re opening up America again. (Applause.)
Thanks to the strong foundation poured by our President, supported by all of you — that foundation of less taxes, less regulation, more American energy — after losing 22 million jobs at the height of this pandemic, we’ve already seen 10.6 million Americans go back to work, including 97,000 people right here in Iowa. (Applause.)
And we’re not just opening up America, we’re opening up America’s schools. (Applause.)
And I’m proud to report to you that my wife of 35 years is already back in the classroom at the Christian school, outside Washington, D.C., where she teaches every day. (Applause.)
We’ve been there for our doctors, our nurses, our healthcare workers, and we’re going to make sure our teachers and administrators have everything they need to safely reopen as we strive for that day, with a vaccine, that we put the coronavirus in the past.
It’s remarkable to think what we’ve been through over the course of this year. We’ve gone through a time of testing. But I came here today, as all of you know, at the Family Leader, because we’re coming to a time for choosing. And the choice in this election has never been clearer and the stakes have never been higher.
I believe that when you look at their agenda, it’s clear that Joe Biden would be nothing more than a Trojan horse for the radical left.
I mean, Joe Biden has said that democracy is on the ballot. And certainly our economic recovery is on the ballot; law and order are on the ballot. But I also believe that there are things much more foundational and fundamental that are on the ballot as well.
I think between now and November 3rd, it’s not going to be so much whether we — we end up more Republican or more Democrat, more liberal and more conservative, more red or more blue. I think the choice we face in this nation, in this year, is whether America remains America. It’s whether we’re going to chart a course for our children and grandchildren, and a future that’s based on the timeless ideals enshrined in our constitution — our belief in free enterprise and free market and the American Dream — or whether — whether we’re going to take that hard left turn — the well-worn path to government control and a managed economy: the path to socialism.
That’s why I believe, for the sake of our freedom, for the sake of all the ideals that have made this nation truly great in the past, we need to decide right here and right now that Joe Biden will never be President of the United States of America, that we’re going to reelect President Donald Trump for four more years. (Applause.)
So I thank you for hearing me out. I thank you for your faith, for your enthusiasm, and for all that Family Leader has done to stand with those who stand with our most cherished values each and every day. It truly is an honor to be with you here.
I’d encourage you, in the days ahead, to keep — keep telling your neighbors and friends at work and at worship about all that we’ve accomplished as a nation and all that’s at stake in the days ahead. And be confident as you go.
You know, in all my travels across the country over the last four years to big cities and small towns, I’m convinced of two things: that America is a freedom-loving nation and America is a nation of faith.
Everywhere I go, people speak to me about their faith with a word of encouragement. The sweetest words I ever hear is when people will say, as they did over a Carter Lake earlier today — reach out maybe across the rope line and just say, “I’m praying for you.” And I want you all to know: We feel those prayers every day.
I think the American people know that the foundation of America is freedom, but the foundation of freedom is faith. The truth is faith is at the very heart of who we are as Americans, and I believe the foundation of this country is strengthened each and every day by the stand that each and every one of you take.
President Lincoln reminded us, quote, “It is the duty of nations, as well as of men, to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all histories that those nations are only blessed whose God is the Lord.”
And so as I leave here today, in these challenging times, and urge you to hold fast to freedom, let’s also hold fast to faith. And let’s remember to pray.
The Bible tells us that the prayer of the upright pleases Him; the prayer reaches Heaven, His holy dwelling place; and that in times of great challenge in our life or in the life of the nation, we’re not to be anxious about anything, but in everything, in every form of prayer and petition with thanksgiving, we’re to present our request to God and know that the peace of God that passes all understanding will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
As Ben Carson said, we’re passing through difficult days as a nation. Too much division in our country today — an election of such consequence it may well be one of the most important elections in the life of this nation.
But I believe more than ever that people of faith should pray. And coming here today, I want to encourage you: Practice that prayer in a renewed way. As we think of the challenges and the times in which we live, the more than 200,000 of our countrymen that have been lost; we think of the grief of those families who have always been on our hearts, those that are struggling with disease today; as we think of the economic hardship that people still face in the midst of the recovery that’s underway; we think of the violence besetting families in our major cities, let’s — let’s claim that ancient promise that if His people who are called by His name will humble themselves and pray and turn, that He’ll do like he’s always done in the long and storied history of this country. He’ll hear from Heaven, and he’ll heal this land. (Applause.)
So thank you for the warm welcome. I was humbled by what Bob Vander Plaats said, that I’m coming to you today, but you said I come from you. And I hope you can hear my heart today.
And while I’m at it, standing here in Iowa, let me say it is the greatest honor of my life to serve as your Vice President. And on behalf of my family, I want to thank you for the great privilege of serving in this role for yours. (Applause.)
My pastor told me one time that everybody is under-encouraged. And I can tell you that I leave here today encouraged. Know that you’ve encouraged your Vice President, and I know you’ve encouraged Ben and Candy and all those in our delegation today, and we thank you. And I leave here today believing more than ever that God is at work.
And as I close, let me just share a story. It was a few months ago, I was reminded that, even when it doesn’t seem that way, God is still working. You see, I got a letter from a pastor who leads a small church just outside Jacksonville, Florida. He wrote to me of a time many years ago that he and his wife were attending Asbury Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. It was back in the 1970s. It was a place where they held, in the spring of every year, a Christian music festival where they would have music, and then they would have preachers who would present the gospel and invite young people from all across the region.
But he wrote to me that, in 1977, he had decided at the seminary — they had collectively decided to end the Christian music festival; it was known as Ichthus.
But he and his new bride felt a burden to take on the task, even though he wrote — and I quote — that “several friends told us that it would be very hard on our new marriage and we shouldn’t do it.” But he said, “We answered the call.” And they gathered a few other seminarians, as he told me, and they worked a whole year long to arrange the event in the spring in 1978.
And then he told me that the night came — the culminating evening on Saturday night, when everything was to come together and the main preaching was done. And he and his new bride were walking through the camp area, and it was raining, and they were disappointed. They thought it had all been for naught.
And then he wrote these words in a letter. And I quote: “And that’s because, on that night, I didn’t know that a future Vice President of the United States of America would be giving his life to Jesus Christ.”
He continued, “I cannot write this without tears,” and I still can’t read it without tears, because I remember that night: Sitting on a hillside, it was raining, and it was like I heard the words for the first time that God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten son, that whoever might believe in Him might not perish but have eternal life.
And that 19-year-old young man stood up, walked down that night — not out of a sense of intellectual agreement, but because my heart was broken with gratitude for what had been done for me on the cross.
I wrote a letter to that pastor, which I couldn’t write without tears. And not long after that, we actually met him and his wife, and laughed together and prayed together. But I told him, “Now I know who else to thank for that night so many years ago.” It changed my life.
You know, the lesson in that letter, to me, though was: Even when things don’t seem like they’re going the way we expect, they’re going the way He expected.
And the truth is, in the most challenging times in our nation, we can still claim a promise that we’ve had over the mantle of our home for now nearly 20 years. I traveled to the little house that we lived in while we served in the Congress. It traveled to the governor’s residence in Indiana, and now it’s over the mantle in the home of the Vice Presidency. It reads, “For I know the plans I have for you — plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”
And I believe with all my heart that if we will hold fast to Him, if we will hold fast to His promises, if we will hold up the example and the strength that comes through faith in Jesus Christ, that it will once again be people of faith that see our way through these challenging times; that a hope and a future awaits beyond anything we could ask or imagine. And the best days for Iowa and America, by God’s grace, are yet to come.
Thank you very much. (Applause.) Thank you for the honor of being with you today; for all the work of the Family Leader. And God bless America.