Mike Pence photo

Remarks by the Vice President in a Press Gaggle in South Jordan, Utah

August 22, 2019

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you all for being here. It's great to be back in Utah and to see such an enthusiastic response today to the leadership that President Trump has been providing.

We've kept our promises to cut taxes, roll back regulation, unleash American energy. But being here today to talk about the importance of the USMCA and the agreement that we have negotiated with Canada and Mexico is a great privilege for me. I'm grateful for all the business leaders who were here and elected officials who were here.

And our message is very simple: that the USMCA is a win for Utah, it's a win for America, and it's absolutely essential that Speaker Pelosi put the USMCA on the floor of the Congress and pass the USMCA this year.

We have every confidence that if the Democrats will put the USMCA on the floor of the House, it will pass. And then we'll move it through the Senate quickly and we'll create a new opportunity for the people of Utah and the people of this country to prosper with our neighbors to the north and the south.

And make no mistake about it: Passing the USMCA will strengthen the hand of this President as we negotiate with China, as we negotiate with the EU, with Japan, and nations around the world for the kind of free, fair, and reciprocal trade that puts American jobs and American workers first.

Q: But Mr. Vice President —


Q: — it is a — it is an election year, and the conventional wisdom might be that it's going to be difficult for Congress to pass this in an election year. It doesn't want to hand you a victory, and it wants to thwart your agenda. What do you say?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, our message to Democrats in Congress is that the USMCA is a win for every American, every community large and small, and that, when we pass it, it will be a win for Republicans, Democrats, and independents across this country.

I mean, we all know about NAFTA. While NAFTA provided opportunities for some businesses in America, the truth is, for manufacturing, particularly in the automotive sector, we literally saw 80,000 factories close across this country.

Now those are factories that employed people from every political party, communities large and small. And what President Trump has done in renegotiating this agreement is remove all of the incentives to be moving jobs south of the border.

The Secretary of Commerce and I were just speaking about the fact Ford Motor Company just announced that they are not moving 400 jobs to Mexico. They've cancelled those plans. They're creating those jobs in Michigan.

So our message is going to be — continue to be that it's time for Congress to set politics aside. There'll be plenty of time for politics next year, and we'll look forward to a good and vigorous debate on the course of this country. But this year, for the sake of every American, for the sake of Utah and America's economy, USMCA needs to become law.

Q: Mr. Vice President, do you worry that the possibility of a recession on the horizon will make it harder to get this bill through Congress?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, first, let me say, the American economy is booming. More than 6 million jobs created in the last two and a half years. Wages are rising at the fastest pace that they have in a decade. The stock market, despite some volatility for a day last week, is still up over 30 percent — strengthening the retirement, the pensions, the 401(k)s of every American.

I mean, this economy in Utah and across this country is growing. And we really believe that if we will stay on course to President Trump's agenda of less taxes, less regulation, more American energy, and pass the USMCA as we negotiate other free and fair trade deals, that we'll not only not have the economic downturn that some naysayers are predicting, but we're going to continue to see this economy expand and create jobs and opportunities for many years to come.

Q: Mr. Vice President, what do you think about the role of immigrants in Utah's economy? And how can those wanting to come here contribute?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, this is an administration that is absolutely committed to ending the crisis on our southern border. And ending the crisis of illegal immigration across this country. President Trump recently outlined our plan for a merit-based immigration system that really puts the interests of American citizens and the American economy first.

And we support legal immigration. I'm proud to say that, under this administration, we've sworn in more than a million new American citizens. It was my privilege, on the Fourth of July at the National Archives, to actually be there when we swore in another 50 new American citizens.

But the American people know that we have a crisis on our southern border and it's a crisis that's being driven by loopholes in our laws that human traffickers take advantage of to entice vulnerable families to take the long and dangerous journey north.

I was, yesterday, with training officials and new recruits at our Customs and Border Protection facility in New Mexico. But the good news is, because we are building a wall, because President Trump demanded that Mexico do more to secure our border and theirs, and because of the courageous work of our Customs and Border Protection personnel, in the last two months, apprehensions at our southern border are down by 40 percent.

And with yesterday's announcement of amending the Flores Settlement, which is decades in place, we're now making it clear to families that might be enticed to come north that we will process your asylum claim, but it will no longer be the case that we have to release people, after 20 days, into the country just because they bring a minor with them.

Our new rule will allow the highest humanitarian standards for people to come to into the country and apply for asylum, and for vulnerable families and for children. But it'll also allow us to keep families together as we process those asylum claims and to keep them there until we either grant them asylum or return them to their home country.

We really believe that will take — that will take a giant step toward taking an incentive away from human traffickers and those they would exploit to take the long and dangerous journey north.

The American people want us to deal with the issue of illegal immigration. We want a system of legal immigration that is working, that is based on merit. And as we secure our border, the people of Utah can be confident that President Trump and I are going to continue to work with members of Congress, now and in the years ahead, to create a new immigration system — not only secure our border, but fix this broken immigration system once and for all.

Q: Mr. Vice President, last time you were here, it was to help shore up support for Donald Trump, who, even though this is a reliably Republican state, has not been popular her. He remains unpopular. Polls show less than half of Utahns want to see him reelected. What do you need to do? You made some comments in your speech, but what do you need to do? You seem to have a resonance here that he doesn't. What do you need to do to get him reelected with Utah onboard?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, let me say, I've really been overwhelmed by the expressions of support for the President and for our administration since I arrived back in Utah. It's been — it's been very humbling for us to see the support not only at the airport yesterday, not only here today at Merit Medical, but, frankly, along the streets on the way here.

And I think the reason why the people of Utah are going to say "yes" to reelecting this team and this President is because of the record. I mean, President Trump has been working every day to keep the promises that he made to the people of Utah. We've been taking the ideas that have worked and created jobs here in Utah, and we took them across the country with less taxes, less regulation, and more American energy, and free and fair trade deals, and the economy is booming. Add to that: Working very closely with former Senator Orrin Hatch, this President has actually appointed more conservatives to our federal courts than any President in American history, including two justices to the Supreme Court who are deeply committed to the God-given liberties enshrined in our Bill of Rights.

So I think it's about our economy, I think it's about our — those constitutional rights and principles. It's about our President's commitment to rebuild our military and the historic investments we've made in our national defense. And I think that's the reason why we have the support that we have here in Utah and all across the country.

And as the election unfolds next year, we'll be back again and again to make sure the people of Utah know about the way this President has kept his promises. And we're going to drive all the way to victory in 2020.

Q: Any comment on the buzz about you being replaced?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: You know, it's the greatest honor of my life to serve alongside President Trump as his Vice President. And I'm grateful that he's asked me to run as his running mate again.

But our focus, I have to tell you, is entirely on the American people. And this is an extraordinarily important time in the life of this nation. I mean, in 2020, I don't think the choice in this election has ever been clearer or the stakes have ever been higher.

In President Trump, you have a leader who has been rebuilding our military, who has revived the economy by putting the principles of low-taxes, less regulation, more American energy into effect. He's appointed conservatives to our federal courts at every level.

And on the other side, you have 22 people running for President on the Democratic side who represent the most left-wing, liberal group of candidates that I have ever seen — many of which actually openly advocate socialism with ideas like Medicare For All and the Green New Deal that would literally crush this economy.

And so I'm excited about the chance to take our case to the American people next year. And to be able to campaign alongside this President is the greatest honor of my life.

Thanks, everybody.

Mike Pence, Remarks by the Vice President in a Press Gaggle in South Jordan, Utah Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/334145

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