Mike Pence: ‘Obama Era of Weakening Our National Defenses Is Over’

Vice President-elect Mike Pence addresses the Heritage Foundation's 2016 President's Club Meeting in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016.
AP Photo/Cliff Owen

Vice President-elect Mike Pence tells The Heritage Foundation that “the Obama era of weakening our national defenses is over.”

Pence spoke at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. to outline some of President-elect Donald Trump’s priorities in his first 100 days in office. Those include national security, economic prosperity and the Supreme Court; these are also all priorities promoted in the work of the Heritage Foundation, which Pence praised for its “underpinning commitment to free enterprise” and “ensuring the ongoing vitality of the American Dream.”


“We truly do believe that our President-elect has secured a mandate for leadership,” Pence said, adding his confidence in Trump’s ability to “Make America Great Again.”

On the topic of national security, Pence pointed out that “for America to be prosperous and strong, America must be safe. It was Ronald Reagan who taught us that peace comes through strength.”

He vowed the incoming administration would rebuild the military and provide its soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and coastguards with “the resources and training they need to protect America.”

Specifically, Pence noted that under the Obama administration, and even prior to that, America has “walked away from our commitment to being that arsenal of democracy in the world.” He pointed out that since 1991, America’s active duty armed forces has decreased from 2 million to 1.3 million members, the Navy has shrunk to 272 ships from 500, the Air Force is roughly one-third smaller since that period of time and our standing army is the smallest it has been since World War II.

The VP-elect’s son is a pilot in the U.S. Marine Corps. “But the average age of our aircraft in our military today is older than my son. It’s 25-years-old. That’s about to change, everybody.”

“I want to assure you that the Obama era of weakening our national defenses is over,” Pence told the crowd, which broke into applause, as they would several more times over the course of his speech.

Improving conditions at the nation’s VA clinics was also placed as a top priority. Pence noted that he and Trump will make sure that veterans will receive “world-class healthcare,” because “they’ve earned it.”

Four staff members resigned from a southeastern Oklahoma VA facility last week after a veteran was found to have maggots in his wound; a testament to the subpar care U.S. veterans are subjected to.

Transitioning over to matters of business and economy, Pence noted Trump’s vows to keep his promises, including “repealing Obamacare lock, stock and barrel.”

Following his meeting with President Barack Obama last month, President-elect Trump noted that he would keep two aspects of the Affordable Care Act, namely allowing coverage for individuals with preexisting medical conditions and allowing children to stay under their parents for coverage up to the age of 26.

Under the Affordable Care Act, Americans have seen a 25 percent average in premium increases. To this point, Pence elaborated on his and Trump’s aim to set into motion a process to replace Obamacare with “free market reforms that reduce the cost of healthcare without growing the size of government.”

He also said that he and Trump will be working to implement regulatory reform and to use the Congressional Review Act to undo the red tape that’s been stifling American jobs and growth and “working with members of Congress on the REINS Act and other reforms that will permanently reform and reset the balance of the regulatory state and lawmakers in Washington, D.C.”

Job growth has been a central theme for the incoming administration. Pence said he and Trump would cut taxes across the board for everyone from working families to family farms and lower business taxes from from 35 percent to 15 percent “so companies in America can come and create jobs in this country without seeing them shipped overseas.”

Trump was recently able to prevent some 1,000 American jobs from leaving for Mexico, even before taking office.

On the topic of the Supreme Court, the VP-elect assured the crowd that as President, Trump “will appoint justices to the Supreme Court of the United States of America in the tradition of the late and great Justice Antonin Scalia.”

Pence also gave a special shoutout to Carly Fiorina, who was sitting in the crowd, thanking her for her leadership. “This is a great, great voice for conservatives in America.”

He concluded his speech discussing his own family roots and his and the Heritage Foundation’s unwavering belief in the American dream. “America matters far beyond our shores,” Pence said. “We are that last best hope today, every bit as much as the day it was first said.”

Pence said America is the “greatest nation on earth” and reminded the crowd of the importance of belief in God and the power of prayer.

In these divided times, where we face unknowable challenges abroad and too much division at home, that if His people will call Him by His name, will humble themselves and pray, He’ll do like he’s always done throughout the long and storied history of this nation: He’ll hear from heaven and He’ll heal this land. This one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter and Periscope @AdelleNaz


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