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VP Pence pool report #5
Peter Nicholas • Wall Street Journal
February 9, 2017: 08:20 PM

Vice President Pence delivered a 20 minute speech at an awards dinner held at the West Point mess hall honoring Henry O. Flipper, a former slave who was the first African-American to graduate from the academy.

Using his executive authority, he opened by giving amnesty to all cadets for minor offenses, a declaration met with waves of applause through the cavernous dining hall.

Applause also swelled at his mention of the commander-in-chief, Donald Trump.

Toward the end of his address, Mr. Pence spoke about various threats facing the U.S.

"The forces of radical Islamic terrorism seek to destroy not only our people but our way of life," he said.

"The barbarians known as ISIS are brutally killing anyone who stands in the way of their attempts to establish a global caliphate. They will not stop until we stop them."

He paused and then, for emphasis: "And we will stop them."

More applause.

"Make no mistake about it: President Trump and this administration and this country will not rest unitl these enemies are destroyed and our nation is safe again."

He said the Trump administration will ensure that "our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guard" have the resources they need, rebuilding what he called the "arsenal of democracy."

Mr. Pence, whose son Michael is a second lieutenant in the Marines, vouched for President Trump's commitment to the military. He said that "from what I see in him every day, America has a president and a commander-in-chef who loves the armed forces."

Before leaving for West Point, Mr. Pence said, President Trump told him to visit the MacArthur statue (described in an earlier pool report). Mr. Pence followed through. Though it looked to your pooler -- who was at a distance -- that Mr. Pence was wiping snow from the base of the statue, Mr. Pence told the cadets that he was "polishing" the general's boot.

At 8:15 p.m. the motorcade is leaving the campus and heading back to the airport.

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