Apr 29, 2021
Mike Pence Speech Transcript April 29: First Speech Since Leaving Office
Former Vice President Mike Pence gave his first speech since leaving office on April 29, 2021 in South Carolina. Read the full transcript of his speech remarks here.
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Mike Pence: (00:00)
Hello, South Carolina. I want to thank Senator [Campbell 00:00:03] for those overly generous words. I am humbled to be here with all of you. I think Josh knows that the introduction I prefer is a little bit short. I’m a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order, and it is my great honor to be here with all of you today.
Mike Pence: (00:39)
It’s a great honor to be here at one of the most effective pro-family organizations in the United States of America, Palmetto Family. Let’s hear it for David Wilson and whole team. Thank you for supporting this extraordinary group. And it’s great to be back in South Carolina, home to so many leaders that I admire. Governor Henry McMaster, Senator Lindsey Graham. And we’re joined today by a dear friend of mine from my days in Congress, Congressman Joe Wilson is with us tonight, a great champion.
Mike Pence: (01:12)
I want to thank the members of the General Assembly who are here with us today. I know you’re in session, but made some time to put Palmetto Family first, and I’m honored by your presence today. And how about Senator Tim Scott last night? Wow. I just spoke to him. He and I are very near friends. And I first met Tim when he was in the General Assembly a decade ago. And we’ve been friends ever since. I can honestly say I was for Tim Scott before it was cool. But the truth is, how great is it to have such a positive vision laid out before the American people and all of you gathered here at Palmetto Family? How great is it to have a leader on national television who says, “Becoming a Christian transformed my life?”
Mike Pence: (02:18)
It’s really so good to be with you today. Some of you know that I had an unexpected medical procedure a few weeks back. My doctors cleared me to travel and I wouldn’t have missed tonight for the world. The truth is, they told me that my heart was actually skipping a beat every now and again, which is really unusual because that hasn’t happened since the day I met my wife, Karen. Would you give her a round of applause? I know she’s looking on and she loves South Carolina. But I’m back and I feel great. And I’m so grateful for the warm welcome and for the prayers.
Mike Pence: (02:56)
I came here tonight for only two reasons. I came, first, to say thank you. Thank you for the privilege of serving as your Vice President and the privilege of serving alongside President Donald Trump. It’s the greatest honor of my life. And also, to say after 100 days of open borders, runaway spending, plans for higher taxes, a bigger welfare state, more government, defunding the police, abandoning the right to life, canceling our most cherished liberties, I’ve had enough.
Mike Pence: (03:38)
After 100 days, I think the time has come for Americans who voted of faith and family and freedom and limited government to stand up and unite behind a positive agenda and win back America. And it starts right here and right now in South Carolina.
Mike Pence: (04:03)
But first, let me reflect for a moment on all we accomplished over the last four years. It’s incredible. I remember the final day of the Republican Convention in Cleveland in 2016. Our nominee and our [inaudible 00:04:22] the same car. We were headed to the airport to campaign together. And to know our President is to know someone who’s more a coach than a general manager. And he’s sitting next to me in the car and we’re still getting to know each other and he starts to give me the pep talk.
Mike Pence: (04:37)
He says, “Mike, campaign starts now.” He said, “Now, if you go North, I’m going to go South. If you go East, I’m going to go West.” And I said, “You got it.” He goes, “I know you’re Governor of Indiana, but whatever time you have to spare, we’re going to work and work and work.” And I said, “You got it. I’m in. I’m all in.” He goes, “But we’re going to have to work. We’re really going to have to work and go out and campaign and take our message to the American people.” And I said, “I’m there. I got it. I hear you.” And then he says, “We’re going to work and work and work.” And then he looked over at me and he hit me on the shoulder and he said, “And then it’s going to be great.” And I got to tell you, it was. It was four years of consequence, four years with results, and four years of promises made and promises kept.
Mike Pence: (05:24)
I mean, think about it. In 48 months, the Trump-Pence Administration achieved the lowest unemployment, the highest household incomes, the most energy production, the most pro-American trade deals, the most secure border, and the strongest military in the history of our country. In our first three years, we revived our economy, created seven million good paying jobs by cutting taxes, rolling back regulations at a record pace. Becoming a net exporter of energy for the first time in 70 years. We held China accountable for years of trade abuses, and we brought jobs back to the USA.
Mike Pence: (06:06)
And in the face of the worst pandemic in 100 years, we launched the greatest national mobilization since World War II. We reinvented testing. We launched manufacturing and distribution of literally billions of medical supplies. We provided direct payments to the families and businesses that saved some 50 million American jobs. And before the year was out, we had three safe and effective vaccines available for the American people and were vaccinating a million people a day on the day we left office.
Mike Pence: (06:49)
Only in America. It’s extraordinary to think about the progress that the American people have made. I did see that our new President was on television at a little town hall. And I remember he said there was no vaccine before he took office, which must have been news to many because he had already been vaccinated. Truth is, it’s not about taking credit. The American people deserve the credit for responding to this pandemic and every day, we’re one day closer to putting it in the past once and for all.
Mike Pence: (07:33)
With renewed American strength and the largest investments in our national defense since the days of Ronald Reagan, we stood with our allies and stood up to our enemies. Over those four years, our military defeated the ISIS caliphate, and we eliminated their leader without one American casualty. It’s extraordinary. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was the most dangerous terrorist in the world. He was responsible for the gruesome death of thousands, including Americans.
Mike Pence: (08:02)
Of thousands, including Americans.
Mike Pence: (08:04)
We all remember the story of Kayla Mueller. She was captured by ISIS and actually held by Al-Baghdadi. It was amazing for me to be there that night in the Situation Room, sitting alongside the president and our military leaders. We watched in real time as American special forces descended on that compound in Northern Syria. And I’ll never forget, in a mission that was named after Kayla Mueller, they brought justice to Al-Baghdadi. The words that came across the intercom from in the field was “Jackpot. We got him.”
Mike Pence: (08:53)
Our armed forces are the greatest force for good the world has ever known. In addition to taking down ISIS caliphate, we isolated Iran as never before. We withdrew from the Iran Nuclear Deal and eliminated the most dangerous terrorist in the world in the Iran Revolutionary Guard. In the midst of all that, we saw Arab nations step forward and sign historic Middle East peace agreements. This has not happened for decades. And, this president and our administration kept our word, to the American people and our most cherished ally, when we moved the American Embassy to Jerusalem, the capital of the State of Israel.
Mike Pence: (09:55)
So, it was about prosperity the last four years, it was about security of the American people and our allies. With the support of groups like Palmetto Family, we also stood up for our values. We provided those guardrails that Dave Wilson just talked about. We appointed almost 300 conservatives to our federal courts at every level, including Justice Neil Gorsuch, Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Justice Amy Coney-Barrett.
Mike Pence: (10:22)
From day one we defended religious liberty, we ended the assault on the Little Sisters of the Poor and every single day, this president, this vice president and our administration stood without apology for the sanctity of human life.
Mike Pence: (10:40)
I must tell you, it was perhaps my highest honor when as the president of the senate, I was able to cast the tie breaking vote to defund Planned Parenthood in states across America. And groups like Palmetto Family made that progress possible and I couldn’t be more grateful.
Mike Pence: (11:08)
But, I want to tell you that the support for life literally started on day one. I’ll never forget we were in our first month in office in 2017 and the anniversary of the Roe vs Wade decision came up and the March for Life was scheduled to take place in the National Mall on a cold day. Well, the prime minister of the United Kingdom was in town and the president was not going to be able to address the crowd and I remember standing next to the resolute desk as he was lamenting the fact that he wouldn’t be able to engage the crowd and I said, rather shy at that time, I said, “Well, you know, they invited me too.” And he looked up at me and he said, “They invited you to speak?” And I said, “Yes.” And he said, “Well do you want to do it?” And I said, “Well, I’ve been to the March for Life a number of times with people like Joe Wilson and I’d be happy to do it.” And he said, “Well, you should definitely go.” And I had the privilege of being the first vice president in history to be able to address the March for Life on the National Mall and two years later President Donald Trump did the same.
Mike Pence: (12:31)
So because of your support and maybe two a greater extent your prayers, we made history. We made a difference for our security, for our prosperity and our most cherished values. We made America greater than ever before. But how times have changed. In just 100 days, the Biden Harris administration has launched an avalanche of liberal policies that threaten to derail all the progress that we made for a safer, more prosperous, more secure America. As Americans heard last night, President Biden has launched an explosion of runaway spending to the tune of $6 trillion and counting. And after our administration worked in a bipartisan way with Congress on every single COVID bill, the Biden administration passed their COVID bill on a partisan basis and actually used COVID relief to fund a massive expansion of the welfare state. They propose trillions of dollars in expanding the federal role of government in every area of our life, literally from cradle to grave and they’re using an infrastructure bill to advance a radical climate change agenda.
Mike Pence: (13:39)
And just as our economy is getting back on its feet here in South Carolina and all across America, they plan to pay for all of it by cutting planned increases in military spending and passing the largest tax increase in 50 years. But it doesn’t stop there, my friends. After inheriting the most secure border in American history, the Biden administration ended construction of the wall and canceled policies that had reduced illegal immigration at our border by 90% and they’ve unleashed the worst border crisis in our history.
Mike Pence: (14:21)
Also, they’ve capitulated to international bureaucrats, rejoining the Paris Climate Accord and planning to rejoin the Iran Nuclear Deal. They formed a commission to pack the Supreme Court, supporting gun control they’ve joined the woke chorus accusing law enforcement agencies across America of systemic racism. You know, I don’t think I can say it better than your senator said it last night, when Tim Scott said, “Brave police officers and Black neighborhoods are not adversaries, we are family.” And let me join Tim Scott in saying, from my heart, traveling this nation coast to coast as your vice president, America is not a racist country.
Mike Pence: (15:09)
Democrats have been so busy advancing their liberal agenda that sometimes I feel like the left hand doesn’t know what the far left hand is doing because on top of everything else in the last 100 days, there’s been a whole hearted embrace of the radical left’s all encompassing rapidly escalating war on American traditional values. They abolished the 1776 Commission, they authorized teaching critical race theory in federal agencies and public schools and they restored Title 10 funding to Planned Parenthood of America.
Mike Pence: (15:49)
Even AOC said the Biden administration, quote, “Exceeded progressive’s expectations.”
Mike Pence: (16:00)
… Administration, quote, “Exceeded progressives expectations.”
Mike Pence: (16:07)
Had enough? I have.
Mike Pence: (16:11)
I mean, in 2020, the American people did not vote for that agenda. They did not vote for the agenda of the radical Left. And the time has come for freedom loving Americans to stand up to the far Left agenda of the Biden-Harris Administration and say, “Enough is enough!”
Mike Pence: (16:28)
It’s time to unite behind a positive agenda built on our highest ideals and win back America. And we have the winning agenda, men and women. I have no doubt about it. Build on American values and on our confidence in the American people.
Mike Pence: (17:12)
Again, your senator said last night, “Our best future won’t come from Washington schemes of socialist dreams, it will come from the American people.” And Senator Tim Scott is right. Our agenda is clear, it’s the agenda that we just implemented in four years of the Trump-Pence Administration. It’s built on a strong national defense, on secure borders, on free market economics, trade deals that put America first. It’s on conservative judges. And it’s a movement that is built on upholding all the God given liberties enshrined into the Constitution of the United States of America.
Mike Pence: (17:48)
The First Amendment, freedom of speech, freedom of religion. The Second Amendment, right to keep and bear arms. The Tenth Amendment, limited government and letting states lead on the issues most important to our families. And it’s been our movement, in the spirit of the Tenth Amendment, that has led the fight to give parents the right to choose where their children go to school, public, private, parochial, or home school.
Mike Pence: (18:16)
And it’s out movement that recognizes that election integrity is a national imperative, and election integrity and reform belongs at the state level.
Mike Pence: (18:35)
Elections are a state responsibility. Founders of our Constitution crafted it that way. We need to reject any Democrat attempts to nationalize our elections, as you heard President Biden speak about last night. We need to defend state based reforms, support voter ID, and work every day to restore the confidence of every American in every vote.
Mike Pence: (18:57)
And with our agenda and our movement, we will always stand by the men and women who serve on the thin blue line of law enforcement.
Mike Pence: (19:21)
We’ll give them resources for training, and we’ll also always defend the right of Americans to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment.
Mike Pence: (19:37)
We’ll defend religious liberty and the sanctity of life. And it will be our movement. It’s the vanguard of the freedom of expression. A movement that cherishes our heritage, our history, and our steady march toward a more perfect union. We will stand with the right of every American of every faith to live, to work, to speak, and to worship according to the dictates of their conscience.
Mike Pence: (20:12)
We will reject critical race theory in our schools, in our public universities, and we will cancel cancel culture wherever it arises. That’s an agenda that’ll win. That’s an agenda that’ll win back America. And it’s a positive agenda. These divided times that each and every one of us needs to take to our neighbors and friends. We’ve all been through a lot over the past year. A global pandemic, civil unrest, divisive election, tragedy at our nation’s capital, and a new administration attempt on further dividing our country as they advance the agenda of the radical Left.
Mike Pence: (21:12)
But through it all, I want you to know that I have hope. A pastor friend of mine once said, “Everybody’s under encouraged.” So I want to encourage you tonight. And I want to remind you of two things. First, we’ve seen this movie before. In 2010, we had a Democrat president, Democrat majorities in both houses of Congress. I was there. I was serving as a House Republican Conference Chairman. And I remember, Joe, so do you, I remember how defeated we all felt. The Hope and Change had arrived. Right? And all the media had aligned itself, just as they are today, behind that new Democrat administration.
Mike Pence: (22:14)
But what happened then, and I believe will happen again, is that conservatives across America, in public office and families and businesses alike, all rallied around the cause. We rallied around a positive agenda to offer, as President Reagan used to say, “A choice, not an echo.” A positive agenda built on our principles. And in 2010, we won 63 seats in the House of Representatives and retired Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House.
Mike Pence: (22:43)
A couple years later, we won the Senate. In 2016, we won the White House. And we’re going to do it all again in the next four years.
Mike Pence: (22:43)
So I want to encourage you. Ecclesiastes says, “There’s nothing new under the sun, what is now has been before.” You look back at 2010, you look back at 1994, it’s going to look familiar. When you’re talking to neighbors, and friends, and coworkers, and people at worship and at work, just say, “I ran into Mike the other day at the convention center, and he was really optimistic.” I mean, men and women, we have the winning agenda and now it’s incumbent upon us to take that winning agenda to the American people.
Mike Pence: (23:30)
In fact, I think we’d do well to heed the words of that 40th President. It was 1976, some of us are old enough to remember, he had fallen short of the Republican nomination, but President Ford waved him up to the stage, invited him to bring some brief remarks.
Mike Pence: (24:00)
… to the stage, invited him to bring some brief remarks. And he spoke off the cuff, but at the very end of his remarks, then Governor Reagan said these words, he said, “This is our challenge, better than ever before. We’ve got to quit talking to each other and about each other, and go out and communicate to the world that we carry the message they’ve been waiting for. We must go forth from here united because there is no substitute for victory.”
Mike Pence: (24:44)
That’s then our cause in the days that lie ahead, tell the story of the record and all that we accomplished over the last for years for the American people, in security, in prosperity, and ensuring that our most cherished liberties are more secure in the courts in the land. We need to provide the loyal opposition, as so many Republicans across the country are doing, and I promise you I’ll be doing as well, pushing back on an administration and liberal agenda being driven by the radical Left. And finally, we’ve got to guard our values, like the theme of this dinner, by offering a positive agenda to the American people, grounded in our highest ideals.
Mike Pence: (25:32)
Now, over the coming months, I’ll have more to say about all of that, and I know you will too, but I want to encourage you tonight with the history and our record. And I want to encourage you to have faith. As I’ve traveled all across this country, I’ve become convinced more than ever of two things, in my time as Vice President and my time in public life, that this is a freedom loving nation, and this is a nation of faith. It truly is.
Mike Pence: (26:09)
The sweetest words I ever heard as I traveled around the country, and I heard them almost every day, was when someone would reach out and grab a hand, and look at me or my wife and just say, “I’m praying for you.” And this is a nation of believers. And I truly believe the progress we made over those four years and enduring the trials of the last year, we’ve been carried aloft by the prayers of the American people. And I believe with all my heart in the boundless capacity of the American people, but also, I believe this is a time when we ought to renew our faith in Him who placed this miracle of democracy on these wilderness shores. Because I say from my heart, God isn’t done with America yet.
Mike Pence: (27:07)
As I close, let me say, recently, I had an occasion to be reminded that even when it doesn’t seem like it, God is at work. I got a letter last summer from a pastor in Middleburg, Florida. He told me of a time that he and his wife, many years ago, were in seminary. They had just gotten married. And they were asked if they would organize a youth festival at Augsburg Seminary, that had been put on every year, and the plan was to cancel it, but they were asked if they’d do the work.
Mike Pence: (27:55)
He wrote to me that all his friends told him not to do it, they said, “It won’t be good for your young marriage.” But they said they prayed about it and decided that they’d go ahead and organize it. So they spent the whole year, and they arranged for contemporary Christian bands to be there, and some wonderful preachers to be there. And in his letter, he told me that when the Saturday night came of the culminating evening of that youth festival, that it was raining. And he and his young bride walked through the grounds thinking that it had all been for naught.
Mike Pence: (28:37)
And then he wrote to me that, “That’s because I didn’t know that a future Vice President of the United States would be giving his life to Jesus Christ that night.” He said, “I cannot write that without tears.” And I cannot recite it without it. I remember that night. I was sitting on that hillside, and it was like I heard for the first time those words that, “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever might believe in him might not perish but have everlasting life.” And I stood up, and I walked down, not out of a sense of intellectual agreement or assent, but because my heart was broken with gratitude for what had been done for me.
Mike Pence: (29:40)
I wrote that pastor back, and on a trip to Florida I had a chance to meet him and his wife. They’re wonderful people. And when I shook his hand, I just told him, “Now I know who else to thank for that night in 1978.”
Mike Pence: (29:58)
Even in these challenging times, I think we’d do well to remember that ancient verse, it’s hung over the mantle of our home for 20 years, it’s in Jeremiah 29:11. It says, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you not to harm you, plans to give you hope in the future.” And I believe as everyone involved with Palmetto Family believes, that if we will but put our trust in Him, if we will carry the message of our ideals and values to our neighbors and friends, there is hope, there is a future. And the best days for the greatest nation on Earth are yet to come.
Mike Pence: (30:55)
Thank you. God bless you all. And God bless America.