More than 400 people attended an Evangelicals for Trump rally in Sioux City on Thursday morning. Vice President Mike Pence headlined the event and provided a blow-by-blow rundown of what the Trump Administration has accomplished.
“Thank you for the privilege of serving as your vice president at such a time as this,” Pence said.
Pence started out by talking about foreign policy and President Donald Trump’s work to rebuild the American military, noting Trump signed the largest spending increase in national defense since the days of Ronald Reagan.
Pence, a father of a United States Marine and new father-in-law of a Navy pilot, said he couldn’t be more proud of the men and women in America’s armed forces.
He noted the Iran nuclear deal, saying that while the previous administration sent pallets of cash, this President got out of the deal and has taken the fight to radical Islamic terrorists on America’s terms on their soil.
Pence also highlighted the action that eliminated Qasem Soleimani.
“That’s what leadership looks like,” Pence said. “This President not only stood up to Iran, but he’s also stood shoulder to shoulder with our most cherished ally. And, under President Donald Trump, if the world knows nothing else, the world knows this — America stands with Israel.”
Pence pointed to Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the American Embassy there. He also brought up the recent proposal unveiled by Trump earlier this week.
“I promise you, in this White House, we will always seek peace,” Pence said. “Peace will require compromise, but as President Trump said, we will never compromise the safety and security of the Jewish state of Israel.”
National security, Pence said, begins with border security. He credited Mexico for strengthening its work at its own southern border. He noted apprehensions at America’s southern border are down by more than 70 percent and the wall has started to be built.
Trump has also offered support of law and order.
“This President has stood without apology for the men and women of law enforcement at every level,” Pence said.
Pence pivoted to the judiciary, where Trump has appointed more than 180 “principled conservatives,” he said.
“I’m here to tell you, they’re all men and women who will uphold all the God-given liberties enshrined in our Constitution, like the freedom of speech, freedom of religion and the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms,” Pence said.
Pence highlighted the accomplishments on the life movement, noting how one of Trump’s first actions as President was addressing the Mexico City policy. Pence said taxpayer dollars will never be used to promote or provide abortions overseas.
He also said he was honored to cast the deciding vote in the U.S. Senate on legislation that allowed states to defund Planned Parenthood. And just last week, Trump became the first President to address March for Life in person.
“I have to tell you, I couldn’t be more proud to serve as vice president with a president who stands without apology for the sanctity of human life,” Pence said. “President Donald Trump is the most pro-life President in American history.”
From life to religious liberty. Pence said freedom of religion is the first freedom and that he and Trump will always defend the freedom of religion of every American of every faith.
He said the administration ended the Obama Administration’s assault on Little Sisters of the Poor. It also ended a lawsuit against Dordt University. And, when attempts were made to take down the peace cross memoria built to honor heroes from World War I, the administration intervened at the direction of Trump.
Pence said there were activists attempting to remove a Bible that was carried in World War I from a missing man table in a VA hospital in New Hampshire. The missing man table, Pence said, is set up in statehouses and VA hospitals. They leave an empty chair and remember those who didn’t come home. There was an objection to the Bible being on the table.
Under the previous administration, Pence said, VA hospitals were removing Bibles and banning Christmas carols in an effort to advance political correctness.
“Under this administration, we made it clear — VA hospitals will never be religion-free zones,” Pence said.
He followed that up with a vow to continue working to repeal the Johnson Amendment. Trump’s administration ended enforcement of the law. In addition, the administration made it so all schools receiving federal funds must allow students, teachers and coaches to pray on school grounds.
Finally, Pence highlighted the economy.
He highlighted the growth, noting that America is a net exporter of oil and natural gas for the first time in 70 years. He talked about the recently signed USMCA agreement and millions of jobs that have been created since Trump entered office.
Pence told a story from a vacation to Florida. He and his wife were at the beach when a young man told Pence to tell Trump to keep doing what he’s doing because the man made twice as much as he made the previous year.
“He turned around and walked away,” Pence said. “He turned back and looked at me and said ‘I don’t know what you do, but keep doing what you’re doing too.'”
Pence implored the crowd to vote for Trump in 2020, noting four more years means more jobs, more judges and more support for the troops.
“It’s going to take at least four more years to drain that swamp,” he added. “The choices in this election couldn’t be clearer and the stakes couldn’t be higher. Today we have a President who loves this country, stands by our military, our workers and freedom. He never quits, he never backs down. He believes in you and he fights for you every single day.”
Pence then took a swipe at the Democrats running for President.
“Iowans deserve to know that every Democrat on that debate stage last week supports using taxpayer money to fund abortions,” Pence said. “And, with these caucuses just a few days away, Iowans know firsthand what America has learned over the last several months. The truth is, the Democrat Party of today has been taken over by radical leftists.
“They want higher taxes, open borders, late-term abortion and socialist policies that would literally crush this economy.”
He then highlighted Bernie Sanders’ history of socialist beliefs, noting he is leading in some Iowa Caucus polls.
“He openly advocates policies that have literally impoverished millions,” Pence said. “But I think the people of Iowa know it was freedom, not socialism, that created the most prosperous nation. It was freedom, not socialism that ended slavery, won two World Wars and it’s made America the envy of all the nations.”
After the event, I talked with Wayne Bierman from Aberdeen, SD. It was about a four and a half-hour drive.
“Excellent,” Bierman said. “On point on everything. Just a great Christian.”
Bierman said many issues are important going into November, but he spoke highly of life issues and the Second Amendment.
“And of course, we have to keep socialism out of the United States,” he said.
Bierman said 25 people rode the bus from the Republican Party of South Dakota.
He isn’t particularly worried about any of the 2020 Democrats ending up as President.
“I don’t think any of them have a chance, so we’re not going to worry about it,” he said.
Diane from Sioux City said Thursday was the first time she saw Pence in person.
“Great. Great job,” she said.
She said life is the No. 1 issue for her.
As for the 2020 Democrats, she’s not impressed.
“I don’t agree with any of the things they say,” she said.
Four years ago, she didn’t do the caucus. But during campaign stops, she attended several. So far, though, so good.
“He’s done a terrific job,” Diane said. “He fights for everything that he should be fighting for for us people here in rural America.”
She also appreciates Trump’s willingness to take on the media.
“It’s great because a lot of other Republicans just got pushed around,” she said. “They didn’t stand up for what they believed in.”
What does she think about a potential Pence run in 2024?
“Well, he’d be a good choice,” she said. “He’d have to continue to be a fighter like Trump and really put it out there.”