NATIONAL HARBOR, MD — Just before 1 pm on Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence took to the stage at the 2020 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the Gaylord National Resort & Conference Center. Conservative activists from around the nation gave him a standing ovation upon his entrance.
Pence was introduced by Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union.
“It is great to be back at this historic gathering at a historic time,” Pence told the crowd. Before getting to the meat of his speech, he explained what the Trump administration is doing about the coronavirus.
“President Trump has no higher priority than the health, safety, and wellbeing of the American people.”
Pence said that while the risk to the American public remains low, “we’re ready for anything.”
“We will continue to bring the full resources” of the government “to protect the American people.”
Pence promised the administration will work with members of both parties to address the crisis. “This is not the time for partisanship. The American people expect us to work together,” he said.
After discussing the coronavirus, he went on to address the crowd of mostly young conservative activists. “It is great to be back at CPAC,” he said. “I’m here for one reason and one reason only: that our movement, our party, and America need for more years” of President Trump in the White House.
He was met with chants of “Four more years!” from the crowd.
Soon after, a protester attempted to interrupt Pence’s speech, and the crowd chanted “USA! USA!” until they were removed. Vice President Pence continued his speech, unfazed by the interruption.
“You here said ‘yes’ to President Trump in 2016 and I know you’ll say yes to four more years!” he said.
Pence then recalled the victories of the past few weeks, including record GOP turnout in Iowa, a historic State of the Union address.
“While Democrats were still counting votes in Iowa, Trump won more votes in the New Hampshire primary than any incumbent” in decades, he said. Then he mentioned the Democrats’ failed impeachment. “President Trump was acquitted forever!”
“President Reagan said it was morning in America. President Trump said ‘make America great again,’” Pence continued. “How great is it to have a president who embraces his role as leader of the free world?”
Then he discussed Trump’s agenda and achievements, contrasting some with that of the previous administration. Under Trump, the world knows that America stands with Israel. While Obama sent pallets of cash to Iran, Trump has brought the fight to the terrorists. He noted the recent victories in the war on terror, and how Democrats have spoken against the killing of Iranian general Soleimani. He mentioned Bernie Sanders’ response specifically before saying, he had a message for Bernie.
“Soleimani was a terrorist and Trump was right to take him down!”
The crowd rose to their feet and cheered.
“This president knows national security begins with border security,” Pence continued, noting that border apprehensions are down 80 percent in the past year, and we’ve already started to build the wall.
“Build the wall! Build the wall!” the crowd cheered.
“We will!” he replied.
Then he spoke of the sanctity of life, noting that pro-life Democrats continue to feel alienated by their party, essentially being told there’s no room in the Democratic Party for pro-life Democrats. Pence spoke to them directly. “I have a message to pro-life Democrats: you have a home in today’s’ Republican Party.”
He discussed other victories of President Trump, including the USMCA. “NAFTA is gone and the USMCA is here to stay,” he said. China has also been put on notice that the “era of economic surrender is over.”
“The American economy is booming,” he continued, noting that more Americans are working today than ever before.
“In three short years, we’ve made America great again!”
Pence then gave everyone in the crowd a call to action. “But to keep America great, we need you to decide right here and right now that America is going to vote to keep Trump in the White House for four more years.”
Pence explained that four more years of Trump means more jobs, more judges, more support for our troops, and more draining of the swamp.
“The choice has never been clearer, the stakes have never been higher,” he said.
Then he had a little fun at the Democrats’ expense. He asked the crowd if they watched the recent Democratic debate. “That wasn’t a Democratic debate, that was a demolition derby.” Then he noted how those usually end. “There’s gonna be a monster truck with a big T on it,” that will crush them all in the end.
“President Trump won the Democratic debates in a knockout. Hands down.”
The crowd cheered loudly, but then Pence took a more serious tone, acknowledging that today’s Democratic Party “has been taken over by radical leftists” and it’s hard to believe that the party of Truman and JFK is about to nominate a socialist, who honeymooned in the Soviet Union, and praises socialist dictators. But, he warned, this isn’t just about Bernie Sanders. “There are no moderates in this Democratic field.”
He added, “Every other Democrat embraces Bernie’s socialist agenda.”
“It won’t be enough to win the next election,” Pence warned. “We have to win the next generation. We ‘ve got to tell the truth about socialism and the benefits of freedom,” he said, “because young people have the wrong idea of what socialism really is. “Socialism has failed everywhere it’s been tried,” Pence said. “Freedom works, socialism doesn’t,” he added, before explaining how Venezuela was once the second-wealthiest nation in our hemisphere, but deteriorated under socialism.
“America will never be a socialist country,” he promised.
The crowd loved Vice President Pence, jumping to their feet to cheer him at the conclusion of his speech. This was a motivated crowd, clearly passionate about the conservative agenda of the Trump administration, ready to make four more years of Trump a reality in November.
Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis