BALTIMORE — Vice President Mike Pence accepted the nomination for vice president Wednesday night at historic Fort McHenry in Baltimore. Here is the transcript of his speech.
Good evening, America.
It is an honor to speak to you tonight from the hallowed grounds of Fort McHenry. The site of the very battle that inspired the words of our national anthem.
Those words have inspired this Land of Heroes ever since.
It was on this site 206 years ago when our young Republic heroically withstood a ferocious naval bombardment from the most powerful empire on earth.
They came to crush our revolution, to divide our nation, and to end the American experiment.
The heroes who held this fort took their stand for life, liberty, freedom and the American flag. Those ideals have defined our nation.
Yet they were hardly ever mentioned during last week's Democratic Convention.
Instead, Democrats spent four days attacking America. Joe Biden said we were living through a "season of American darkness."
But as President Trump said, “Where Joe Biden sees American darkness, we see American greatness.”
In these challenging times ... our country needs a president who believes in America. Who believes in the boundless capacity of the American people to meet any challenge, defeat any foe, and defend the freedoms we all hold dear ... America needs four more years of President Donald Trump in the White House!
Before I begin, allow me to say a word to the families and communities in the path of Hurricane Laura.
Our administration is working closely with authorities in the states that will be impacted and FEMA has mobilized resources and supplies for those in harm's way. This is a serious storm. We urge all those in the affected areas to heed state and local authorities.
Stay safe, and know that we'll be with you every step of the way to support, rescue, response, and recovery in the days and weeks ahead.
Four years ago, I answered the call to join this ticket because I knew that Donald Trump had leadership and the vision to make America great again.
For the last four years, I have watched this President endure unrelenting attacks and get up every day and fight to keep the promises he made to the American people.
So, with gratitude for the confidence President Donald Trump has placed in me, the support of our Republican Party, and the grace of God, I humbly accept your nomination to run and serve as Vice President of the United States.
Serving the American people in this office has been a journey I never expected. A journey that would not be possible without the support of my family, beginning with my wonderful wife Karen, a lifelong school teacher, an incredible mother to our three children and an outstanding second lady of the United States. And we couldn’t be more proud of our three children: Marine Corps Capt. Michael J. Pence, his wife Sarah, our daughter Charlotte Pence Bond, author and wife to Lt. Henry Bond, who is currently deployed and serving our nation in the United States Navy, and our recent law school graduate daughter Audrey and her fiancée, who like so many other Americans, had to delay their wedding this summer, but we can’t wait for Dan to be a part of our family. In addition to my wife and kids, the person who shaped my life the most is also with us tonight, my mom Nancy. She’s the daughter of an Irish immigrant, 87 years young, Mom follows politics closely. And truth be told, sometimes I think I’m actually her second-favorite candidate on the Trump-Pence ticket. To Mom and to my father looking down, thank you, I love you.
Over the past four years, I’ve worked closely with our President. I’ve seen him when the cameras are off. Americans see President Trump in lots of different ways but there’s no doubt how President Trump sees America. He sees America for what it is ... a nation that has done more good in this world than any other ... a nation that deserves far more gratitude than grievance ... and if you want a president who falls silent when our heritage is demeaned or insulted, then he’s not your man.
We came by very different routes to this partnership and some people think we're a little bit different. But I've learned a few things watching him deal with all we've been through these past four years. He does things his own way, on his own terms. Not much gets past him and when he has an opinion, he's liable to share it. He's certainly kept things interesting, but more importantly, he's kept his word.
In a city known for talkers ... President Donald Trump is a doer. Few presidents have brought more independence, energy, and determination to that office.
Four years ago we inherited a military hollowed out by devastating budget cuts, an economy struggling to break out of the slowest recovery since the great depression ... ISIS controlled a landmass twice the size of Pennsylvania and we witnessed a steady assault on our most cherished values like freedom of religion and the right to life.
That's when President Trump stepped in.
From Day One, he kept his word. He rebuilt our military, created the Space Force, the first new branch of our armed forces in 70 years ... and we returned American astronauts to space on an American rocket for the first time in nearly a decade.
And after years of scandal that robbed our veterans of the care they earned, President Trump kept his word. We reformed the VA ... and veterans’ choice is now available to every veteran.
Our armed forces and our veterans fill this land of heroes and this historic fort. Tonight we have among us, four recipients of the Medal of Honor ... six recipients of the Purple Heart and a Gold Star mother, of a gallant Navy SEAL ... wounded warriors from Soldier Strong, a group that serves injured veterans ... We’re honored by your presence. Thank you for your service.
With heroes just like these, we defend this nation every day and we’ve taken the fight to radical Islamic terrorists on our terms on their soil.
Last year, American armed forces took the last inch of ISIS territory, crushed their caliphate and took down their leader without one American casualty. Earlier this year, I was there when President Trump gave the order to take out the world's most dangerous terrorist.
Iran's top general will never harm another American again because Qassem Soleimani is gone.
My fellow Americans, you deserve to know, Joe Biden criticized President Trump following his decision to rid the world of both of those terrorists. But it’s not surprising because history records that Joe Biden even opposed the operation that took down Osama Bin Laden.
It’s no wonder Bob Gates, Secretary of Defense under the Obama Biden Administration said Joe Biden had “been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”
So, we've stood up to our enemies and we've stood with our allies.
Like when President Trump kept his word and moved the American embassy to Jerusalem, the capital of the state of Israel, setting the stage for the first Arab country to recognize Israel in 26 years.
And closer to home, appointed more than 200 conservative judges to our federal courts, supported the right to life and all our God-given liberties including the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
But when it came to the economy, President Trump kept his word and then some ... to pass the largest tax cut and reform in American history, rolled back more federal red tape than any admin, unleashed American energy and fought for free and fair trade.
in our first three years, businesses large and small created more than 7 million jobs, including 500,000 manufacturing jobs. America became a net exporter of energy for the first time in 70 years.
Under President Trump, unemployment rates for African Americans, Hispanic-Americans, hit their lowest levels ever!
On this 100th anniversary of women's right to vote, I'm proud to report that under President Donald Trump we achieved the lowest unemployment rate for women in 65 years and more Americans were working than ever before.
In our first three years, we built the greatest economy in the world. We made America great again.
And then the coronavirus struck from China.
Before the first case of coronavirus spread within the United States, President Trump took the unprecedented step of suspending all travel from China.
That action saved an untold number of American lives. And bought us time to launch the greatest national mobilization since World War II. President Trump marshaled the full resources of the federal government and directed us to forge seamless partnerships with governors across America in both parties. We partnered with private industry to reinvent testing and produce supplies and we’re now conducting 800,000 tests per day ... have coordinated the delivery of billions of pieces of Personal Protective Equipment ... And we saw to the manufacture of 100,000 ventilators in 100 days. And no one who required a ventilator was ever denied a ventilator in the United States. We built hospitals, we surged military medical personnel and enacted an economic rescue package that saved 50 million American jobs.
As we speak we’re developing a growing number of treatments, including convalescent plasma that are saving lives all across the country. Last week, Joe Biden said, “No miracle is coming.” What Joe doesn’t seem to understand is that America is a nation of miracles and we’re on track to have the world’s first safe, effective coronavirus vaccine by the end of this year.
After all the sacrifice in this ... year like no other -- all the hardship -- we are finding our way forward again.
But tonight, our hearts are with all the families who have lost loved ones. We mourn with those who mourn, and we grieve with those who grieve. And this night I know millions of Americans will pause and pray for God's comfort to each of you
A country doesn't get through such a time unless its people find the strength within. The response by doctors, nurses, first responders, farmers, factory workers, truckers, and everyday Americans who are putting the health and safety of their neighbors first has been nothing short of heroic.
Veronica Sayez put on her scrubs and went into work day in and day out in one of New York’s busiest hospitals. She stayed on the job until it was done. Her brother William is a New York City firefighter. And they’re emblematic of heroes all across this country. You’ve earned the admiration of your fellow Americans, and the thanks of a grateful nation.
Thanks to the courage and compassion of the American people, we are slowing the spread, we are protecting the vulnerable, we are saving lives, and we are opening up American again.
Because of the strong foundation that President Trump poured in our first three years, we’ve already gained back 9.3 million jobs over the last three months. And we’re not just opening up America again -- we’re re-opening America’s schools. I’m proud to report that my wife Karen, a lifelong school teacher, will be returning to her classroom next week.
To all the heroic teachers, faculty, and staff ... You have our thanks.
In the days ahead, as we open up America again and open up America's schools, I promise you we'll continue to put the health of America first.
And as we work to bring this economy back, we all have a role to play and we all have a choice to make.
On Nov. 3, you need to ask yourself: Who do you trust to rebuild this economy? A career politician who presided over the slowest economic recovery since the Great Depression? Or a proven leader who created the greatest economy in the world.
The choice is clear to bring America all the way back, we need four more years of President Donald Trump in the White House.
My fellow Americans, we are passing through a time of testing. For in the midst of this global pandemic, just as our nation has begun to recover, we've seen violence and chaos in the streets of our major cities.
President Donald Trump and I will always support the right of Americans to peaceful protest, but rioting and looting is not peaceful protest, tearing down statues is not free speech. Those who do so will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Last week, Joe Biden didn't say one word about the violence and chaos engulfing cities across this country.
Let me be clear: the violence must stop -- whether in Minneapolis, Portland, or Kenosha.
Too many heroes have died defending our freedoms to see Americans strike each other down.
We will have law and order on the streets of America.
President Trump and I know the men and women that put on the uniform of law enforcement are the best of us. They put their lives on the line every day.
People like Dave Patrick Underwood was an officer of the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Protective Service, who was shot and killed during the riots in Oakland, California. We are joined tonight by his sister Angela. Angela, we grieve for your family and are grateful for his service. And America will never forget Dave Patrick Underwood and his service and sacrifice to this nation.
The American people know we don't have to choose between supporting law enforcement and standing with African American neighbors to improve the quality of life in our cities and towns.
From the first days of this administration, we have done both.
And we will keep doing both for four more years in the White House.
Joe Biden says America is systemically racist. And that law enforcement in America has a, quote, "implicit bias" against minorities.
And when asked whether he'd support cutting funding to law enforcement, and he replied, "Yes, absolutely."
Joe Biden would double down on the very policies that are leading to unsafe streets and violence in America's cities.
The hard truth is ... you won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America. Under President Trump, we will stand with those who stand on the Thin Blue Line, and we’re not going to defund the police -- not now, not ever.
My fellow Americans, we are passing through a time of testing. Soon, we will come to a time for choosing.
Joe Biden has referred to himself as a "transition candidate." But many are asking: A transition to what? Last week, Democrats didn't talk much about their agenda, and if I were them, I wouldn't want to either.
Bernie Sanders did tell his followers that Joe Biden could be the most liberal president of modern times and confirmed that, quote, “Many of the ideas we fought for, that just a few years ago were considered radical, are now mainstream” in the Democratic Party.
At the root of their agenda, is the belief that America is driven by envy, not aspiration -- that millions of Americans harbor ill-will toward their neighbors, instead of loving our neighbors as themselves. The radical left believes the federal government must be involved in every aspect of our lives to correct those American wrongs. They believe the federal government needs to dictate how Americans live, how we should work, how we should raise our children -- and, in the process, deprive our people of freedom, prosperity, and security. Their agenda is based on government control; our agenda is based on freedom.
Where President Trump cut taxes -- Joe Biden wants to raise taxes by nearly $4 trillion.
Where this President achieved energy independence for the United States. Joe Biden would abolish fossil fuels, end fracking, and impose a regime of climate change regulations that would drastically increase the cost of living for working families.
Where we fought for free and fair trade this President stood up to China and ended the era of economic surrender.
Joe Biden has been a cheerleader for communist China -- wants to repeal all the tariffs that are leveling the playing field for American workers and actually criticized President Trump for suspending all travel from China at the outset of this pandemic.
Joe Biden is for open borders; sanctuary cities; and free lawyers and healthcare for illegal immigrants. President Trump has secured our southern border and built nearly 300 miles of the wall.
Joe Biden wants to end school choice. President Trump believes every parent should have the right to choose where their children go to school regardless of their income or area code.
Joe Biden supports taxpayer funding of abortion right up to the moment of birth. President Donald Trump has been the most pro-life President in American history.
When you consider their agenda it's clear: Joe Biden would be nothing more than a Trojan horse for a radical left.
The choice in this election has never been clearer and the stakes have never been higher.
Last week, Joe Biden said democracy is on the ballot but the truth is ... our economic recovery is on the ballot, law and order is on the ballot. But so are things far more fundamental and foundational to our country.
It's not so much whether America will be more conservative or more liberal, more Republican or more Democrat. The choice in this election Is whether America remains America.
It’s whether we will leave to our children and our grandchildren a country grounded in our highest ideals of freedom, free markets, and the unalienable right to life and liberty -- or whether we will leave to our children and grandchildren a country that is fundamentally transformed into something else.
We stand at a crossroads, America.
President Trump set our nation on a path to freedom and opportunity from the very first day of this administration. But Joe Biden would set America on a path of socialism and decline.
President Donald Trump believes in America and the goodness of the American people, the boundless potential of every American to live out their dreams in freedom. Every day, President Trump has been fighting to protect the promise of America. Every day, our President has been fighting to expand the reach of the American dream. And on every day, President Donald Trump has been fighting for you. Now it’s our turn to fight for him.
On this night, in the company of heroes, I am deeply grateful for the privilege of serving as Vice President of this great nation. I pray to be worthy of it. And I will give that duty all that is in me.
In the year 2020, the American people have had more than our share of challenges, but thankfully we have a President with the toughness, energy and resolve to see us through. Those traits run in our national character ... as that invading force learned on approach to this fort in September 1814. Against fierce and sustained bombardment, our young country was defended by heroes, not so different from those with us tonight. The enemy was counting on them to quit. But they never did. Fort McHenry held. And when morning came our flag was still here.
My fellow Americans, we are going through a time of testing. But if you look through the fog of these challenging times, you will see... our flag is still there.
That star-spangled Banner still waves o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave. From these hallowed grounds, American patriots in generations gone by did their part to defend freedom. Now it’s our turn.
So let’s run the race marked out for us. Let’s fix our eyes on Old Glory and all she represents, fix our eyes on this land of heroes and let their courage inspire ... let’s fix our eyes on the author and perfector of our faith and freedom ... and never forget that “where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom,” That means freedom always wins.
My fellow Americans, thank you for the honor of addressing you tonight and the opportunity to run and serve as your Vice President again. I leave here today inspired. And I leave here today more convinced than ever that we will do as Americans have done through our long and storied past, we will defend our freedom and way of life in November of 2020, we will re-elect our president and principled Republican leaders across this land...and with President Donald Trump in the White House for four more years, and Gods help...we will make America great again, again.
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