McLean, Virginia - Remarks by Vice President Pence at the Council for National Policy Meeting:
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: That’s the plan. (Laughter.) But hello, CNP. Thank you so much for that wonderful, wonderful warm welcome. I’m — I’m very humbled by that. I also want to thank Marcia Taylor for those kind words, and give her a round of applause. I know she’s emblematic of all that is best about the Council for National Policy. (Applause.) Thank you so much, Marcia.
And great to be here with my friend of many years, Bill Walton. Bill, thank you for your great leadership here at CNP.
And to Liz McEwen and her husband — (laughter and applause). Join me — would you just thank the McEwens for all they’ve done for the cause and the country? (Applause.) What a great family. (Applause.) We love you.
Wonderful to be with you all, with so many friends. I really came here tonight at a momentous time in the life of our nation, first and foremost, just to say thank you. I know a friend of mine was at CNP back in August of this last year — (laughter) — and I know he would want me to say the same. We’re just so grateful to each and every one of you for all the support over these past four years, for the ongoing support in the days through which we are passing today.
And as our election contest continues in courts around the country, I promise you: We will keep fighting until every legal vote is counted, until every illegal vote is thrown out, and we will never stop fighting to make America great again. (Applause.)
But it’s so good to be with you all tonight. I want to talk a little bit about why we fight and why it’s so important.
You know, the Old Book says to pay more careful attention to what you’ve already learned. And tonight, as you get ready for a very special evening, I want to challenge each one of us to pay more careful attention to the progress that we’ve made and to the stakes that we’re facing and to the choice our nation faces.
But before that, I will tell you, it really is wonderful, always, to be at Council for National Policy. It — it’s always a room that if the — if the lights in front of me were not quite so bright, I could probably go to every table and name heroes of the conservative movement, but there’s some people I just — I want to mention here.
Ken Blackwell, who’s an incredible leader. (Applause.) My mentor, Ed Feulner. Grover Norquist. Charles Herbster. Penny Nance has done an incredible job. Where are you, Penny? (Applause.) Literally marshalling women all across America.
Randy Tate. Chad Connelly. So many others who are here tonight. I could just go on and on.
There’s two people I wanted to give you a chance to thank though. They have — they have been with me to one degree or another for more than 10 years. They are both men deeply committed to this country, their faith in God, and their families, and they are emblematic of all that’s best about the conservative movement. Would you join me in thanking two members of my team, Paul Teller and my Chief of Staff Marc Short, for their years of service and for their work laboring in the conservative movement? (Applause.) I love you guys. Great job. (Applause.) Thank you, Paul, and thank you, Marc. We just are so grateful to each one of you.
Also, it’s a — it’s great to be the warm-up act tonight for your headline speaker — (laughter) — after dinner. I will tell you, when I first heard of Bill Lee, he was a candidate for governor, a successful business leader, but a man who’d already established a reputation for — for being a man of integrity, of faith. He ran a campaign that was grounded in those very same principles, and it was a tough campaign. It was — a lot of people were looking at the other candidates in that primary, but people across Tennessee saw this man’s quality. They saw his love for his family, his love for God, his love for the state.
And I will tell you, having witnessed his leadership throughout this challenging year, I can tell you, the state of Tennessee and America are better for having Governor Bill Lee in the governor’s office in Tennessee. (Applause.) Bill, it’s an honor to be here with you tonight. It really is.
But thank you all. Thank you for what each one of you and your generosity and your efforts have meant to the Council for National Policy. It’s amazing to think, since 1981, all that CNP has accomplished in advancing this agenda.
And while — while we await the results of our election and we’ll continue to labor in our courts for a free and fair election, an election of integrity, look at what we already have confirmed on this Election Day. For all the spade work that conservatives have done since 1981 and before, it’s amazing to think President Donald Trump and our team secured 72 million votes — 10 million more than four years ago. (Applause.)
In fact, President Trump secured more votes than any Republican candidate for President in history, and he secured more votes than any incumbent President in the history of this nation. (Applause.) And maybe — maybe, most important of all — I know how deeply meaningful it is to the President and it is to all of us here — President Trump not only secured more votes than any Republican candidate for President in history, but he also secured more votes from minorities for any Republican candidate in 60 years. (Applause.) Our party is growing, and under President Trump’s leadership, it’s growing more broadly every day.
Beyond our race, though, I don’t think I have to tell all of you, Nancy Pelosi is not smiling quite as much these days. (Laughter.) Actually, the count now is we added 12 seats to the Republican Conference in the House. (Applause.) We actually flipped, Bill. We flipped three state houses in America for Republican control. (Applause.) And in just — just a short period of time, we’re going to defend the Republican majority in the United States Senate by electing two Republican senators from the great state of Georgia. (Applause.) Are you with us? (Applause.)
I mean, it really is incredible, and I want to talk tonight about why we fight, and why it’s so important.
The battle that we’re taking to the courts today is a battle that is deeply meaningful in the life of the nation, but it all begins with just defending the integrity of the vote. I mean, the truth is — I don’t have to tell men and women of CNP — you understand the right to vote is central to our democracy.
Since the founding of this nation, the “one person, one vote” principle has made possible government of the people, by the people, and for the people. One fraudulent vote robs one honest vote from an American, and it really robs the credibility and vitality of our nation. That’s why we’re going to fight.
Now the liberal media doesn’t get to pick our President; the American people do. (Applause.) So we’re going to fight, and we’re going to fight to preserve the integrity of this election, and we’re also going to work with each and every one of you to ensure the integrity of our elections through election reform. We’re going to protect our elections for generations to come. (Applause.)
So we fight because it’s the right fight to make to defend the integrity of our elections, but we also fight because the stakes in this election are so high, and how inspired we all are by what we have accomplished together over the last four years under the leadership of President Donald Trump.
Now, I do that little hand thing because that’s something I picked up from him. (Laughter.) It’s true. Every time — I’ve had people, more — more times than I can remember, people who come — Marc will back me up — people who come into the Oval Office, and they’ll say, “Mr. President, thank you for what you’ve done.” He always, “‘We.’ It’s what we’ve done.” And think about what we’ve done as a nation under the leadership of President Donald Trump.
I mean, four years ago, we inherited a military that was hollowed out by devastating budget cuts, an economy that was struggling to break out of the slowest recovery since the Great Depression. Terrorism was on the rise around the world. And worst of all, we saw our most cherished values under consistent assault from Washington bureaucrats and activist judges. But under President Donald Trump, in four short years, we rebuilt our military, we restored the arsenal of democracy, we revived our economy, we secured our border, we stood with law enforcement, and we stood for life and liberty and the Constitution of the United States of America. (Applause.)
We reaffirmed our commitment — reaffirmed our commitment as a nation to everything the people in Council for National Policy have been championing since this organization was founded back in those early days of the Reagan administration. And how inspiring it is to stand here today and think about all that we’ve accomplished in those four short years.
You know, earlier today, I was with Young America’s Foundation. I had popped over to speak to all these — all these youngsters. (Laughter.) They’re all my kids’ age. (Laughter.) And I talk to them about — about how I got started in politics when I was about their age. It’s true. I ran for Congress back in 1988. In fact, as a candidate for Congress, I made my way — I told them I made my way to the White House, ended up in one of those photo sessions with my second-favorite President. (Laughter.)
The truth is, though, Ronald Reagan was the reason I became a Republican. I was actually a Democrat in my teenage days. I was the Youth Democrat Party coordinator, Bill, in Bartholomew County, Indiana — kind of a community organizer, if truth be known. (Laughter.) Thanks for getting that joke.
I — (laughter) — no, but I — I literally — I — but when I began to hear the voice and the ideals expressed by this — this movie actor turned politician, I — I joined the Republican Party and never looked back.
And it was that day in the Blue Room that we were doing the photo op thing. Those of you that worked at the White House remember that. They — they line up the candidates and the President is in a chair. And I got to tell you, I was as nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs. (Laughter.) I mean, I’m standing there with my — my young bride. We’d been married just a couple of years. Now, we’ve been married 35 years. And how great is Karen Pence as the Second Lady of the United States? (Applause.) Isn’t she amazing? She’s awesome.
Anyway, that — so, one of the candidates — one of the campaign people had handed me some piece of paper and said just — it must have been about — you know, we needed — we needed a bridge in my district or we needed a road or needed a river for the bridge. I don’t know what it was. (Laughter.) And I was looking at this thing, and we were going to put out a press release. And I turned the young bride and I said, “You know, I actually just — I’d kind of like to just say something from my heart to him.” And she said, “You just say what — say what you want to say.”
And I sat down and President Reagan looked at me. And this was August, 1988, the waning days of that revolution. And he said, “Mike, how’s the campaign going?” And I said, “Well, I got — got something I’d like to say to you.” And he said, “We’ll, go right ahead.”
And I told all these young people today that I looked at that President and I said, “I just want to thank you for everything you’ve done to inspire my generation to believe in this country again.” And in that moment, I’ll always believe the 40th President of the United States blushed. And he said, “Well, Mike, that’s a very nice thing of you to say.” (Laughter.)
But I told those young people that story because I think we’ve come across another President who kept his word to the American people, who demonstrated to this rising generation what real American leadership looks like — when you can stand unapologetically for a strong national defense, for free enterprise, for traditional moral values, and you can deliver for the American people. (Applause.) And I believe President Donald Trump has inspired this generation to believe in America again as well. (Applause.)
He has. Because you look at the record — I mean, it’s amazing to think — amazing to think all that we’ve done. You know, as the father of a United States Marine captain and the — I have an unworthy son-in-law that’s in the United States Navy. (Laughter.) I couldn’t be more proud to serve alongside a President that supported the greatest increases in our national defense since the days of Ronald Reagan. We’ve rebuilt that military. (Applause.)
With renewed American strength, we took — we took the fight to our enemies on our terms, on their soil. Last fall, at the direction of this Commander-in-Chief, after the last administration saw ISIS overrun an area the size of Pennsylvania, our armed forces captured the last inch of territory under the black flag of ISIS, and they took down the leader of ISIS, Baghdadi, without one American casualty. (Applause.)
In January of this year — January of this year, I was there when this President was told that we had the world’s most dangerous terrorist in our sights — a man who literally had the blood of hundreds of American service members on his hands. And I watched this President, without hesitation, put the security and safety of America and our armed forces first, and Qasem Soleimani is gone. (Applause.)
So we’ve stood up to our enemies. And I believe we’ve inspired the nation, have been respected in the world as a result. But we also stood with our allies. Our allies are now doing more for our common defense than ever before.
And it was this President — after four Presidents before him had made the promise and broken it, it was this President who kept his word to the American people and our most cherished ally and moved the American embassy to Jerusalem, the capital of the State of Israel. (Applause.)
And I got tell you — can I just say a quick aside? Because Marc told me, “Tell stories.” Okay? But I won’t go on too long. But, I mean, to say that everybody in the world was opposed to the President making that decision is what I would call an understatement. (Laughter.) I mean, literally, I was there with one world leader after another called this President. But you know what? He’s a man of his word. He told the American people what he’d do, he told our most cherished ally what he’d do, and he did it. It’s incredible.
And the same is true on this economy. This President, with the support of all of you in this room, cut taxes across the board for working families and businesses large and small. We repealed more federal red tape than any administration in American history. We unleashed American energy, we’re a net exporter of energy for the first time in 70 years, and we took a strong stand for American jobs and renegotiated NAFTA in a way that puts American jobs and American workers first. (Applause.)
We revived our economy. Seven million jobs created in those first three years. Wages rose at their fastest pace. Unemployment at a 50-year low. The lowest unemployment ever recorded for African Americans and Hispanic Americans. Just an incredible record of success. And all along the way, this President stood for the rule of law and stood for the men and women of law enforcement at every level in America. (Applause.)
And in support of the rule of law, maybe of the greatest consequence — greatest consequence of these four years is what will endure for decades beyond — is that this President has appointed more than 220 conservatives to our federal courts at every level, including Justice Neil Gorsuch, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and how about Justice Amy Coney Barrett? Isn’t she great? (Applause.)
Yeah, I’m a little partial to her. I mean, she is from Indiana. (Laughter.) But I got to tell you, I couldn’t be more impressed. How much did you love the “What do you got on that paper in front of you?” “Nothing.” (Laughter.) Wasn’t that great? I just — she’s just an amazing person — principled, a great personal story, a brilliant intellect, and is going to make an incredible contribution to the Supreme Court of the United States. And it was never more important — never more important than it is right now.
I hope — I hope after you convene tonight — or sometime over the weekend, you have a chance to take some time to look at what Justice Alito had to say at the Federalist Society last night. (Applause.) Important words. Justice Alito said, “We have never before seen restrictions as severe… and prolonged as those [that have been] experienced” through most of 2020. He said that “previously unimaginable restrictions” on the freedom of religion and the freedom of speech were routinely imposed. And he went on to say, with no small amount of emotion, “in certain quarters, religious liberty is fast becoming a disfavored right.”
But what Justice Alito said was what — what happened during the pandemic really accelerated what had already been happening in our country. I mean, we all remember, in the last administration, the Little Sisters of the Poor being hauled into federal court, demanding them to compromise their Catholic faith under the strictures of Obamacare. We — we saw doctors and nurses’ conscience rights compromised.
And two years earlier, when Judge Barrett was going through her confirmation process, we — we saw that same religious intolerance writ large, didn’t we? Where the Democratic leader on the Judiciary Committee actually expressed concern about Judge Barrett’s sincere Catholic faith, saying, and I quote, “The dogma lives loudly within you.”
Well, I made a point as we traveled around the country this last fall, before crowds large and small, to say to the Democrats in Washington and all their Hollywood friends: That dogma lives loudly in me. (Applause.) That dogma lives loudly in you. And the right to live and worship according to the dictates of our faith lives loudly in the Constitution of the United States of America. (Applause.)
So the legacy of those judicial appointments, men and women, is going to — going to help secure the foundation of those liberties — those God-given liberties that are enshrined in our Constitution and our founding documents. And it’s something of which we should all be incredibly proud, but it’s also why we fight for every single vote for four more years, because the stakes are so high.
But never higher — never higher than the progress that we’ve made in one last category. You know, we’ve rebuilt our military, we revived our economy, we stood for law and order, and our ideals. But I have to tell you, for the last four years, I couldn’t be more proud to serve alongside a President who has stood without apology for the sanctity of human life. (Applause.) Thank you.
And it’s been all along the way, I have to tell you. We were in office a couple of days when the President reinstituted the Mexico City policy, banning taxpayer funding from being used to promote abortion anywhere around the world, and then he actually expanded it within a year.
And I’ll never forget, in our first month in office, when the March for Life came along, the President was — was actually hosting the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom that day, so he wasn’t going to be able to participate. I remember standing beside the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, and the President said, “Oh, so I’m not going to be able to do it. Can we just send them a message or something?”
And I — you know, I was still getting my legs under me. And I said, “Well…” I said, “You know, they — they invited me, too.” (Laughter.)
And the President looked up at me from the desk. He said, “They invited you to the March for Life?” And I said, “Yeah.” And he said, “Do you want to go?” And I said, “Well, I mean, our family has gone for years when I was in Congress. I mean, we’d bundle the kids up, and we’d go down to the National Mall.” And he said, “Well, you should definitely go.” (Laughter.)
And I got to be the first Vice President in American history to ever address the March for Life in person. And one year later, President Donald Trump did it himself. (Applause.) Isn’t that great? (Applause.)
And I have to tell you, you know, I’ve been President of the Senate the last four years. I don’t know if that impresses you at all. (Laughter.) But I don’t know if I — Marc, I don’t know if I had a greater honor — I got to cast the tiebreaking vote in about 15 different bills.
But I never had a greater honor than the day I got to cast the tiebreaking vote on a bill that allowed every state in America to defund Planned Parenthood. (Applause.) And President Trump signed it into law. President Trump is the most pro-life President in American history. That is why we fight. (Applause.)
And we also fight, finally, because of — in what remains of this election and every day that follows, we need to, all of us, do everything in our power — in our election and in those two elections in Georgia and all the fights that follow, we need to do everything in our power to be a check on what Democrats and the American left want to undo and do in America.
I mean, our agenda is American greatness. Their agenda is American decline. Where we’re opening up, they’ll be locking down America again — and not just through lockdowns in the midst of a pandemic, but they’ll be doing lockdowns with higher taxes, more regulations, and suffocating weight of government bureaucracy.
I mean, their agenda, you all know it: higher taxes, open borders, socialized medicine, a Green New Deal, abortion on demand, defunding the police, packing the courts. That’s why we’re not going to let it happen. (Applause.) We’re going to, all of us, do all we can to protect the integrity of the vote, to stand with President Trump, and to win and defend the Republican majority in the United States Senate. Are you with me? (Applause.) Thank you.
That’s why we fight. So that’s why we fight, men and women, is to protect the integrity of the vote. It’s to protect all we’ve done and to prevent all that they’re intending to do to take this country down a path of socialism and decline.
And lastly, I — I know you’ve got a much better speaker and a great dinner waiting. (Applause.) So — so let me just leave you with an admonition, if I may. I just want to urge you to stay in the fight, have faith.
Right after the Election Night was over, somebody sent me a quote from Corrie ten Boom: “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to known God.” (Applause.) I don’t know what the future holds. But like all of you, I know who holds the future.
And so stay in the fight. Stay in the fight and have faith. Stay in the fight for integrity in this election, every day, until the courts have all had their say.
Stay in the fight for a Republican majority, and let’s reelect Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue to a Republican majority in the United States Senate. Stay in the fight. (Applause.)
And ultimately, men and women of CNP, I just say: Stay in the fight for freedom. It’s why you got involved in this movement so many years ago. It’s why that young man in the Blue Room in 1988 got involved in this movement. Because it’s about freedom. It’s about doing our part in our time to preserve this last best hope for ourselves and our posterity.
I pulled a quote from I think what was the shortest commencement address in history. Winston Churchill spoke — 29 October, 1941 — at the boys at Harrow School. And he said these words that seemed to speak to me and they might speak to you tonight. When we think about all that’s at stake in the uncertain days ahead and the challenges that we face, reflect on what Winston Churchill said. He said, quote, “this is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never — in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
Men and women of CNP, never give in. Stay in the fight. And know this: that when we fight for freedom — for all that America’s freedom has meant to past generations, all that it’s meant to inspire the world, and all that our nation has yet to do — remember when we make freedom our cause that the Bible says, “Where the spirit of the Lord is, there’s freedom.” And when we make freedom our cause, we — we make His work on this Earth our own. And that means freedom always wins.
So stay in the fight, CNP. Stay in the fight for freedom because the best days for this movement and this country are yet to come.
Thank you. God bless you. And God bless America. It’s an honor to be with you tonight.