Trump International Hotel
7:00 P.M. EDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, hello CWA! (Applause.) What a great night. It really is great to be here with all of you for the Concerned Women for America 40th Anniversary Gala. Getting started on the next 40 years of great conservative women leaders in America. (Applause.)
And speaking of — speaking of women leaders, I’ve got to tell you, that’s a — she’s a hard act to follow. (Laughter.) But I’m used to it. And I appreciate you all — appreciate you all know the risk I took telling her I wanted to run for public office on our first date. (Laughter.) The fact that she went out with me again is evidence of God’s grace — (laughter) — and her patience.
But I’ve got to tell you: She’s an incredible person, a life-long educator, a Marine Corps mom, a champion of military families, even an art teacher at a Christian school. Would you join me in showing your appreciation one more time — (applause) — for my amazing wife, the Second Lady of the United States of America, Karen Pence? (Applause.) Thank you.
And we are really delighted to be here — really delighted to be with all of you on such a momentous occasion. And let me also bring greetings from a friend of mine, who I know wishes he could be here as well. He’s someone who, each and every one of you know, gets up every day, and has been fighting for the values that have been synonymous with CWA throughout its four decades. I bring greetings and congratulations from the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump. (Applause.)
I’ve just literally left him in the Oval Office and told him I was headed your way. And I think he — I think he sounded just a little bit jealous. (Laughter.) But he wanted me to extend greetings to each and every one of you.
And also let me congratulate a couple of other people, and say you’ve got an incredible program tonight. And the honoree this evening is a friend of mine. I have to tell you: She is a champion for working families in the state of Iowa, a former lieutenant colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard. She has emerged as one of the most important conservative voices in the United States of America. Would you join me in congratulating CWA’s 2019 Statesman of the Year, Senator Joni Ernst. Congratulations, Joni. (Applause.) Great job.
And also, I have to tell you, you couldn’t have asked for a better keynote speaker. He’s someone that I have admired greatly for many years. And I remember, years ago, when he coined that phrase that he was conservative but he wasn’t mad about it. (Laughter.) And he emerged on the national stage after an incredible career as governor of the state of Arkansas, a two-time national candidate. And he’s someone who has been a champion for the values that everyone in this room has stood for throughout the 40 years of this great organization. And, by the way, he is a terrific dad, if you didn’t notice that, too. Would you join me in thanking (inaudible) Governor Mike Huckabee. (Applause.) Governor, thank you so much for who you are and the leadership that you have provided. (Applause.)
I’m just glad I get to speak before dinner and leave, because he’s a hard man to precede. (Laughter.) But, Governor, it’s great to see you and great to share the podium with you today.
And I’m here tonight, really, just to say thank you. Thank you to all of you who have been leading this conservative movement now for more than four decades. It’s remarkable to think about what this organization and this movement have accomplished over the 41 years.
Forty-one years ago, the conservative movement, in so many ways, was a voice in the wilderness. But it was back then that an author — a woman in pastoral ministry and a mother of four — was watching television at home one night when she saw an interview with some abortion activists who claimed to speak on behalf of all American women.
And the history of this great organization and movement records that when she heard that, she stood right up there in her living room and said, “She doesn’t speak for me.” (Applause.) And that night she laid the foundation for the CWA over the next 40 — four decades. She continued to build it into the largest women’s public policy organization dedicated to biblical principles in America. Would you all mind getting on your feet and showing your appreciation for an extraordinary American leader, Beverly LaHaye? (Applause.) What an incredible person.
And I know this is Bev’s last gala leading the CWA, but I know she is as confident as each and every one are as well that we’re going to continue see this great organization grow, the momentum of our movement grow. Under the leadership of your President and CEO of the last nine years, let’s hear it for one of America’s most articulate defenders of conservative values, Penny Nance. We appreciate your leadership. (Applause.)
It really is exciting to be with you today. I just have a few minutes to reflect on the progress that we’ve made, but I do want to say, it’s also — as I mention all of these great women leaders in the country, it’s really great to have 40 Young Women for America chapter presidents with us tonight. Why don’t you all take a bow? (Applause.) Great job. There they are. Great. Proud of you all. Way to step forward. Future leaders.
You know, the contributions made by CWA to the conservative movement over the last 40 years are really hard to quantify. But the truth of the matter is that I hope you can see that, now more than ever, Beverly, the seven values that CWA was founded on have a champion in the White House, in President Donald Trump. (Applause.)
Think about it. I mean, when it comes to all of the values you founded this organization on — life and faith and family and liberty and sovereignty — the CWA, I would argue, has never had a greater champion, a greater fighter for our values in the Oval Office. And you see it in the results.
I mean, when look at the last two and a half years, I think there’s only one way you can describe it. It’s been two and half years of action. (Applause.) It’s been two and a half years of results. It’s been two and a half years of promises made and promises kept. But we’re just getting started, CWA. (Applause.)
I mean, think about it. Think about it. We’ve rebuilt our military; restored the arsenal of democracy; and with the strong conservative men and women that you’ve helped elect on Capitol Hill, we’ve renewed American strength. And we’re finally giving our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guard the resources, equipment, and support they need to accomplish their mission and keep our nation safe. (Applause.)
And with that renewed American strength, we’ve been standing up to our enemies and standing with our allies. I mean, this President and our troops in the field have taken the fight to our enemies on our terms, on their soil.
You know, yesterday I was Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where Flight 93 met its fate. The President was at the Pentagon. We all thought very carefully about the progress we’ve made. And it’s amazing to think what our armed forces have accomplished over the last 18 years. They took the fight to our enemies in the mountains of Afghanistan. Their chief architect met his fate in Abbottabad. And this year, every last inch of territory controlled by the radical Islamic ISIS was captured in Syria. (Applause.)
Our allies are also contributing more to our common defense than ever before. And last year, another principle — another one of those seven values at the foundation of CWA — was proven out in this administration when President Trump did what no American President before him had the courage to do when he moved the American embassy to Jerusalem, the capital of the State of Israel. (Applause.)
Under President Donald Trump, if the world knows nothing else, the world knows this: America stands with Israel. (Applause.)
But beyond our national defense, I’m proud to report we’ve also made historic investments in border security, dealing with the crisis on our southern border and confronting illegal immigration impacting our communities. (Applause.)
I met just this week with the Foreign Minister of Mexico. I’m proud to report that Mexico is doing more now than ever before to end the crisis at our southern border. And in just a short three months, apprehensions at our southern border are already down by more than 60 percent. (Applause.) And we’ve already started to build that wall on the southern border of the United States. (Applause.)
And, of course, under President Trump’s leadership and the support of the conservatives you’ve supported in the Congress, this economy is booming. Right from the outset of this administration, President Trump kept his promise. We cut taxes for working families and businesses large and small. We rolled back red tape at historic levels. We unleashed American energy and the results have been amazing: 6.3 million new jobs created, the unemployment rate has hit a 50-year low, and it’s the lowest unemployment rate in 65 years for American women. (Applause.)
I mean, the truth of the matter is, this economy — this economy is booming for everybody, and it’s working and creating jobs that women are filling at every level all across this nation.
In fact, it’s not only a 65-year low for women, but also it is the lowest unemployment ever recorded for African Americans and Hispanic Americans. (Applause.) The American Dream is working again, for every American. (Applause.)
But as CWA has known since its founding, and all of you patrons here know, the source of our prosperity is that foundation of the faith and the ideals of the American people — the things CWA has been all about from the beginning. And President Trump has been busy strengthening the constitutional foundation and the commitment to those ideals of the American founding from day one.
This President promised to fight judicial activism and appoint conservative judges to our courts at every level. And with last night’s confirmation of Steven Seeger, President Trump has already seen 150 federal judges confirmed to our courts. (Applause.)
And I promise you — I promise you, they’re all men and women of integrity who will uphold all of the God-given liberties enshrined in our Constitution and our Bill of Rights, like the freedom of speech, the freedom of religion, and the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. (Applause.)
And moving these judges through, we’ve had the strong support of CWA. And let me just take this moment, on behalf of the President and myself and our entire administration, to say how profoundly grateful we are to Concerned Women for America that, just last fall, including many of you here tonight, took to Capitol Hill, took the phone lines, and took to the airwaves, and we confirmed Kavanaugh. (Applause.) Justice Brett Kavanaugh is on the Supreme Court of the United States. (Applause.) Great job.
I’m also proud to serve an administration that has stood so strongly for our first freedom — the freedom of religion. And I promise you, this is an administration that will always defend the freedom of religion of every American of every faith. You know, back in 2016, the President promised, as he said, to, quote, “defend your…right to fully and freely practice your religion, as individuals, [as] business owners and [as] academic institutions.” And that’s exactly what we’ve done.
We’ve taken action to protect the conscience rights of doctors and nurses. (Applause.) And after years of neglect, we’ve restored federal enforcement of our nation’s conscience laws. And we ended the last administration’s assault on the Little Sisters of the Poor. (Applause.)
And in this White House, we believe the freedom of speech should not end at the front door of our places of worship. And that’s why this President took action to end enforcement of the Johnson Amendment and free up the pulpits of America. (Applause.)
And as we’ve stood for liberty and the liberties of every American at a time when leading Democrats advocate late-term abortion and infanticide, I couldn’t be more proud to serve as Vice President to a — for a President who stands without apology for the sanctity of human life. (Applause.)
You know, Karen and I have long believed that a society can be judged by how it deals with its most vulnerable: the aged, the infirmed, the disabled, and the unborn.
In one of the President’s very first acts in office — one of his very first acts — he reinstituted the Mexico City Policy to make sure that taxpayer dollars wouldn’t be used to promote or provide abortion around the world. (Applause.) And we’ve expanded it since we started.
And I’ll never forget the day — this is true. Governor, you’ll like this story. It was our very first maybe month in office and the March for Life was in Washington, D.C., on the National Mall, and the Prime Minister of Great Britain was visiting that day.
And we were talking the day before, and the President was sitting behind the Resolute Desk. And he said — and they said, “Well, you’ve been invited to address the March for Life, Mr. President, but we have a state visit by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.” And he said, “Oh, well, you know, I won’t be able to be there. I won’t be able to do that.” And then, standing there, I looked at him, and I said, “Well, you know, they invited me, too.” (Laughter.)
And the President looked up at me and he said, “They invited you to the March?” And I said, “Well, yeah. I — you know, I’ve gone like a lot…” — (laughter) — “…over the years.” And he said, “Well, you should definitely go.” (Laughter.)
So I became the first Vice President in history to have the privilege to address the March for Life, and Karen and I have done it twice. (Applause.) Isn’t that great? True story. Thank you. What a privilege. What a privilege it was for us to stand with all of those wonderful young people on that cold day.
You know, and this administration didn’t just stop at those actions and those words. You know, as Vice President, I get to cast tiebreaking votes in the United States Senate. And I don’t know if I’ve had a higher honor than the day I cast the tiebreaking vote to allow states in America to defund Planned Parenthood. (Applause.) And President Trump signed the bill. (Applause.)
And if you hadn’t heard about it, just last month, thanks to the President’s leadership, it was announced that tens of millions of dollars of federal family planning funding are no longer going to flow to the largest abortion provider in America. (Applause.)
And let me say, with so many in Washington standing for late-term abortion and even defending infanticide, I’ll make you a promise. I see it in his eyes every time the topic comes up. This President, just like this movement, will always stand for the unalienable right to life. (Applause.)
And thanks to your support and the leadership of this President and all of our allies in the Congress, life and liberty are winning in America again. But make no mistake about it — and that’s what tonight ought to be about, and I expect the Governor is going to speak about it as well — we’ve got to be ready in the next year and a half. It’ll all be evident on the television screens tonight from Houston.
You know, I — (laughter) — it’s eminently miss-able but — (laughter) — you can catch it on replay.
And the truth is, the other side — the other side is motivated. They’re motivated because of the progress that we’ve made in advancing sound conservative principles, putting them into practice, and seeing the real results for the American people. They want to undo all of the progress that we’ve made.
Just look at their agenda. Where we cut taxes, they want to raise them. Where we rolled back regulation, they want to increase it. Where we’ve advanced the cause of life and liberty for every American, they want to take America back in the opposite direction.
As we’ll see on the debate stage tonight, the Democratic Party has gone so far to the left, I think that stage is probably going to about turn over. (Laughter.) Anybody else feel that way? I think it’s going to flip. (Applause.)
But the truth is, all kidding aside, the Democratic Party today has embraced a radical liberal agenda on social issues. And most remarkably, leading Democrat candidates for national office and in the Congress openly advocate an economic system that has impoverished millions and robbed the liberties of generations.
It’s amazing. I mean, Democrats today — leading voices in the Democratic Party — openly advocate socialism. But the members of CWA know it was freedom, not socialism, that gave us the freest and most prosperous nation in the history of the world. (Applause.) It was freedom.
It was freedom, not socialism, that ended slavery, won two world wars, and stands today as a beacon of hope for all the world. (Applause.) I say to you, the moment America becomes a socialist country is the moment that America ceases to be America.
So, CWA, we must resolve, here and now, that in this next year and a half, we will say with one voice what the President said in his State of the Union Address: “America will never be a socialist country.” (Applause.) Never do it. We got to do it. And I know we will.
I mean, the truth is, the choice facing this country has never been clearer and the stakes have never been higher. We’ve made incredible progress in the last two and half years, but now it’s time to redouble our efforts. I hope you’re here to celebrate tonight. I hope you’re here to take a moment to think about what’s been accomplished since Beverly stood up in that living room 41 years ago.
But then, like Beverly will no doubt admonish us before we leave tonight, it’s all eyes forward. The challenges lie ahead. You know, Penny said it from this podium a few minutes ago and I am often reminded of it. President Reagan used to say, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.”
So, men and women of CWA, it’s not going to be enough for us just to win the next election. We’ve got to win the next generation with a message of life and liberty that CWA can carry all across this country. (Applause.)
So, over the next 14 months, let’s fight for the values that have made this country great and are making America great again. (Laughter.) Let’s continue to speak out and let our voices be heard.
And finally, let’s have faith. It’s been at the foundation of what CWA has been all about from its very beginning. I’d encourage you: Just have faith in this President, whose drive and vision have been delivering on the agenda that this organization was founded to advance.
Have faith in the women of America, just as Beverly did when she said, “She doesn’t speak for me.” Have faith that if we carry our message out, that we’ll find likeminded women across this country who care about the values that have made this country great — who care about faith and family and freedom, and will stand behind men and women standing for public office who will stand without apology with them.
And finally, I just encourage you to exercise that other kind of faith — the faith that I know has carried this remarkable organization. It’s the first thing Beverly said to me when she saw me tonight, and I know it’s been the secret of this organization from its very beginning.
I think it’s a good time for us, as we look at the challenging days ahead and all the progress that we’ve made, to remember to pray for America, to pray for all those who serve in uniform, all those who serve in harm’s way, and all of us who have the privilege of participating in public life or participating in the public debate.
I really do believe that ancient promise that Americans have clung to throughout our history is just as true today as it’s ever been. That if His people, who are called by His name, will humble themselves and pray, He’ll do like He’s always done in the long and storied history of this miracle of a democracy. He’ll hear from Heaven, and He’ll heal this land — this one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Thank you, CWA. (Applause.) Congratulations on 40 years. (Applause.) God bless you. And God bless America. (Applause.)
7:25 P.M. EDT