NATIONAL HARBOR, MD – Vice President Mike Pence thrilled the assembled throngs at CPAC near the nation’s capital in a speech on Thursday addressing the full range of conservative issues, declaring that “2017 was the most consequential year in the history of the conservative movement,” and that President Donald Trump’s administration is just getting started on judges, the economy, and empowering American families.
Pence started somberly with a biblical reference, expressing his sorrow over the tragic school shooting in Florida. “In America, we mourn with those who mourn,” he said, quoting Romans 12:15, and offering prayers for the victims.
“No child, no teacher, should ever be in danger in an American school,” he added, joining President Trump’s commitment to resolutely address the public policy need revealed yet again by this latest tragedy. “We will make the safety of our schools and our students our top national priority.”
We must “pray for God’s wisdom, that those of us in power will come together,” the vice president continued, saying that they must develop “American solutions” to confront “evil in our time.”
“I’m here because I stand with President Trump,” said Pence as he pivoted to his general remarks, “and I’m here because we stand with the conservative movement.”
When it comes to what Americans—and especially conservatives—care about, “It’s been a year of promises made, promises kept,” the Vice President declared.
He talked about President Trump’s support for the military, law enforcement, and those who keep the country safe. “And make no mistake about it: We’re going to build that wall,” he said, tying security to immigration policy.
Pence then ran through a laundry list of conservative priorities on which the president made bold campaign promises and then delivered.
He noted that President Trump is appointing conservative judges to “federal courts at every level.”
“He appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch,” he said, and then noted that President Trump set a new all-time record for the number of federal appeals judges appointed in the first year of a presidency. (The previous record was 11, and President Trump confirmed 12.)
President Trump has resolutely defended the “inalienable right to life,” Pence added. He has “unleased American energy,” and has “repealed 22 regulations for every new Federal rule put on the books.”
The president also “cut taxes across the board,” the vice president added, enacting the “largest tax cuts and tax reforms in American history.”
“America once again stands without apology as leader of the free world,” Pence added as he turned to foreign policy, noting that now NATO members are contributing more resources to the collective-defense effort.
President Trump “recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel,” Pence declared from the stage to thunderous applause.
“We will not rest or relent until we destroy ISIS at its source,” he continued, recounting how the Trump administration has rolled back the terrorist network.
“We’ve put the lead state sponsor of terror on notice as well,” Pence went on, and reaffirmed that “This country will no longer certify the disastrous Iran nuclear deal.”
The vice president then shifted to the economy, noting that the economy created 2.5 million new jobs since President Trump was elected; that “unemployment hasn’t been this low in 17 years; and more Americans are working today than ever before in American history.”
Pence also noted that 1.5 million people under the current president had gone from food stamps to good-paying jobs, such that they can now “support and sustain themselves with dignity.”
On taxes, he added that “the Obamacare individual mandate tax is gone,” that companies were pouring $480 billion into business investment and expansion, and that “4.3 million Americans have already gotten a raise or a bonus” because of the president’s historic tax cuts.
Pence also pushed back against Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) denigrating the new tax law when she called it “unpatriotic” and the savings merely “crumbs.”
It is not “unpatriotic to let more Americans keep what they earn,” he declared, and ordinary Americans consider the typical $1,000 in tax savings “more than crumbs.”
“I come from the Joseph A. Bank wing of the West Wing,” the blue-collar VP said to the laughter of the crowd.
“We had a term for another $1,000 in our paycheck at the end of the year: Christmas!” he said.
Speaking of Pelosi, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and other Democratic leaders trying to reverse these policies, he added, “It’s up to us to stand up to them and stand up for the American people.”
Pence rallied the assembled crowd to “deliver another victory for the American people in 2018.”
“Progress is driven by the people who show up,” he said. “The president and I need you to show up.”
Conservatives “can’t give anything less than everything,” the former Hoosier governor told them. “America is counting on us.”
Pence closed with references to his faith, encouraging everyone to remember the “source of our strength,” and paying tribute to the recent passing of the Reverend Billy Graham.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble,” he said, quoting Psalm 46. “Therefore we will not fear.”
Faith is what gives us “hope for the present and hope for the future.”
He encouraged those present to “claim that hope,” referencing 2 Chronicles 7:14, where God promises that “if his people, who are called by his name, will humble themselves and pray, he’ll hear from heaven, and he’ll heal this land.”
Pence urged the assembled conservatives to mobilize and work with President Trump, promising them that by doing so, “We will make America great again.”
Ken Klukowski is senior legal editor for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.