Remarks by the Vice President at the 2nd Annual Resurgent Gathering in Atlanta, Georgia
Well, thank you, Karen. To Governor Brian Kemp, to distinguished guests, to my fellow conservatives gathered here from all across America, it is my honor to be here at the Resurgent 2019 Gathering. (Applause.) Thank you for that warm welcome.
It's great to be here with all of you and also with an awful lot of friends. I think when those lights go down after my speech, I'm actually going to see even more of my friends. (Laughter.)
There's one friend in particular I wanted to mention at the beginning. He's — we've known each other for many years in the course of this conservative movement. His voice and his values are respected by people all across this country. And I can tell you, our administration is grateful for his friendship, for his support, and for his leadership in the conservative movement. Would you join me in thanking the founder of the Resurgent, and one of the most prominent conservatives in America: Erick Erickson. (Applause.)
But let me also say what a privilege it is for me to be back in Georgia with another friend of mine. You know, I can honestly say I was for your new governor before it was cool. (Laughter.) Since taking office earlier this year, he stood strong for jobs, he stood strong for families, and he stood strong for Georgia values. Now he's one of the most popular governors in America. Let's hear it for Governor Brian Kemp. (Applause.) Thank you, Brian.
And speaking of friends of mine, let me — let me mention one more. He and I were talking late last night, and we spent a little bit of time on the road yesterday in Cincinnati. But he wanted me to pass along his greetings and his gratitude. He's a man who gets up every day and fights for the conservative values and principles that have always made America great and are making America great again. I bring greetings from the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump. (Applause.)
You know, I can tell you, it's the greatest honor of my life to serve alongside a President who literally gets up every day to keep the promises that he made to the people of Georgia and the people of this country. You know, the President once said all of you are part of a movement, in his words, that is, quote, "reclaiming [our] future, rebuilding [our] country, restoring [our] destiny, and renewing [our] values." And it's the principles in this movement, the principles grounded in the American founding, that are the true source of American greatness. And you are that movement, and we are grateful for your support. (Applause.) We truly are.
You helped elect this President in 2016. You helped elect conservatives at every level. Yours is a movement that, frankly, has been turning our nation back to the ideals of our Founders for decades.
You know, I first ran for Congress back in 1988, when Ronald Reagan was President and I had dark hair. (Laughter.) And I saw then — I saw then the difference the conservative movement had made, turning our nation around in the 1980s. And in all the years since, you have never relented. And because of all of you, starting in 2016, conservative principles are resurging all across America and reviving the greatness of this nation. (Applause.) It really has been a renewal of conservative leadership, from the White House to statehouses here in Georgia and all across the country. And we couldn't be more grateful.
You know, when I think of the last two and a half years of our administration, I think there's only one way you can describe it. I think it's been two and a half years of action. It's been two and a half years of results. It's been two and a half years of promises made and promises kept. And we're just getting started, Georgia. (Applause.)
I mean, think about it: In just two and a half short years, we cut taxes across the board, we rolled back red tape, we've unleashed American energy, and we forged trade deals that are free and fair, and finally put American jobs and American workers first.
And the results are truly remarkable. As the job report today confirms, since Election Day 2016, businesses large and small across America have created 6.2 million new jobs. (Applause.) The unemployment rate has hit a near 50-year low. We've seen the lowest unemployment rates ever recorded for Hispanic Americans and African Americans. The American Dream is working again for every American. (Applause.)
And wages are rising. Wages are rising across the board. Yesterday, I was in south central Pennsylvania, at the only crane manufacturer in the United States that's American-owned and American-produced. And there, they told me they created 350 new jobs in the last two and half years alone. But they also said that wages are going up. They're bringing more and more people in, and they're paying them more and more.
In fact, wages are rising at the fastest pace that they've risen in more than 10 years. And probably most meaningful to the President is that wages are rising today most rapidly for blue-collar, hardworking Americans. (Applause.) The forgotten men and women of America are forgotten no more. (Applause.)
You know, this economy is booming, and the American people know it. I know I don't have to tell you the statistics to know that. You know, Karen and I saw that firsthand when we were — we took a little vacation time down near Fort Myers. It was just two days. (Laughter.)
But we were sitting out there on the beach — true story — and I had a ball cap on, sunglasses, sitting there next to my wife. And these two big fellas were walking by wearing Budweiser t-shirts. And one of them stopped and looked at me and he said, "Hey, you're Vice President Mike Pence." And I said, "Yes, I am." And he said, "Well, listen." He said, "You got to tell the President to keep doing what he's doing because I made twice as much money last year as I made the year before." He said, "You tell him keep doing what he's doing." (Applause.) And then he took two steps away and turned around, and he said, "And I don't know what you do, but keep doing what you're doing, too." (Laughter and applause.) I promised him I would. (Laughter.) But I promised him we would.
You know, one of the funnier things that I ever hear is when I'm out traveling across the country, people will look at me very earnestly and they'll say, "Just tell the President to keep going, keep moving forward." Well, I think the people of Georgia know — you know, all the reverse is stripped out of that pick-up truck. I mean, it just goes forward. And we're going to keep fighting until we make this country more prosperous than you can possibly imagine. (Applause.)
So, jobs are back. Confidence is back. In a word, America is back. But we're just getting started.
And I know all of you in this room are part of a movement that has a boundless confidence in the American people and the opportunities this nation faces. And I want to assure you, from this President on down, so do we.
And beyond this growing economy, I have to tell you: As the proud father of a United States Marine, I couldn't be more proud — (applause). Thank you. I couldn't be more proud to serve alongside a President who cares so deeply about the men and women of our armed forces. This President has signed the largest increase in our national defense since the days of Ronald Reagan. We're rebuilding our military. We're restoring the arsenal of democracy. (Applause.)
And with that renewed American strength, the United States is once again embracing our role as leader of the free world. You've seen it. I mean, how great is it to have a President who is standing up for America on the world stage instead of apologizing for America to the world? (Applause.) How great is it? (Applause.)
You know, under President Trump's leadership, we're standing with our allies and we're standing up to our enemies. Our NATO Allies are contributing more to our common defense than ever before. And earlier this year, at the direction of our Commander-in-Chief, the United States Armed Forces captured every last inch of territory controlled by ISIS in Syria. (Applause.) They did it.
We've also stood strong with our allies in the Indo-Pacific against those who would challenge a free and open seas. In the Middle East, we put Iran on notice. We withdrew from that disastrous Iran nuclear deal. And this President has brought Arab countries together to confront and isolate Iran as never before. (Applause.)
And President Donald Trump did what no American President before him was willing to do when he moved the American embassy to Jerusalem, the capital of the state of Israel. (Applause.)
So, we've been growing this economy. We've been providing for the national defense. We've been standing with our allies, and standing up for our values at home and abroad.
You know, this President has also stood strong to the ideals and principles that conservatives have cherished throughout the history of this movement. The ideals enshrined in our founding documents — in our Constitution and our Bill of Rights.
And I'm proud to report to you, that this President has appointed more conservatives to our federal court of appeals than any President in American history. (Applause.) One hundred and forty judges and counting, including Justice Neil Gorsuch and Justice Brett Kavanaugh. (Applause.)
And I promise you, I've met many of these men and women and spent time with them. And I can promise you they're all principled conservatives, strict constructionists, who will uphold all of the God-given liberties enshrined in our Bill of Rights, like the freedom of religion — (applause) — the freedom of speech, and the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. (Applause.)
And I've got to tell you as well: While we stood for liberty, the rule of law, the foundation of our constitutional liberties, I couldn't be more proud to serve as Vice President to a President who stands without apology for the sanctity of human life. (Applause.) President Donald Trump is the most pro-life President in American history. (Applause.) It's true.
And let me say, the President and I are both grateful for the strong stand for life that Governor Brian Kemp and your legislature has made. (Applause.)
So the past two and a half years have been about action. It's about moving forward on the commonsense, conservative principles that have always been at the center of this movement. It's been about jobs and prosperity. It's been about security at home and abroad. It's been about our fundamental liberties and strengthening America each and every day.
Under President Trump's leadership, we've been able to do all of that and more. But, if you know this President, that's just what he calls a good start. (Laughter.) And men and women of the Resurgent, we are going to press ahead and build even more security and prosperity in the days ahead. (Applause.)
Because, frankly, we've got a lot more work to do. We've got a lot more work to do and there are challenges that lie ahead. The fact is that all of this progress could be lost with one bad day in November in 2020. I mean, all you have to do is look at that debate that took place this last week. (Laughter.)
Did you all watch that debate? I mean, it was kind of hard to watch. I mean, those people were standing so far on the Left I thought that stage was going to flip over. (Laughter and applause.) Anybody with me?
I mean, but seriously, today's Democratic Party is dominated by left-wing liberals who not — who aren't interested in the agenda that we've seen reviving the American economy and making America stronger. These are left-wing liberals who want higher taxes, open borders, and they want to give free healthcare to illegal immigrants.
It's amazing to think that, 10 years ago, President Obama promised that Obamacare would, as he said, "not apply to those who are here illegally." But today, every major Democrat candidate for President has promised to offer free taxpayer-funded healthcare to illegal immigrants.
And many have even promised to decriminalize illegal immigration altogether. That's nothing short of open borders, men and women. And let me be clear: Those who advocate open borders and free healthcare for illegal immigrants are making the crisis of illegal immigration worse — (applause) — and they are making it easier for human traffickers to exploit vulnerable families.
The American people know the answer is to secure our border, enforce our laws, and close the loopholes that human traffickers are using to entice those vulnerable families to take the long and dangerous journey north.
That's why President Trump declared a national emergency. That's why we secured nearly $5 billion in humanitarian aid after months where Democrats said it was "manufactured crisis." And that's why we've already started to build that wall on the southern border of the United States. (Applause.)
But I'll make you promise: Whatever these candidates for the Democratic nomination say or whatever liberals in Congress want to do to continue to obstruct our efforts, we're going to secure our border, we're going to end this crisis, we going to reform our laws, and we're going to fix this broken immigration system once and for all. (Applause.)
But for all the left-wing ideas that we heard on that stage this week, maybe worst of all is actually to hear leading Democrats running for President openly advocate an economic system that has impoverished millions and robbed the liberties of generations. Under the guise of the Green New Deal and Medicare for All, they're advocating socialism.
But all of you conservatives gathered here know well: It was freedom, not socialism, that gave us the strongest and most prosperous nation in the history of the world. (Applause.) It was freedom.
It was freedom, not socialism, that ended slavery, won two world wars, and stands today as a beacon of hope for all mankind. (Applause.)
It was freedom, not socialism, that's moving us beyond the prejudices of the past to create a more perfect union and extend the blessings of liberty to every American regardless of race or creed or color.
And so I say to say to my fellow conservatives: The moment America becomes a socialist country is the moment America ceases to be America. (Applause.) So we must say, as the President said, with one voice: America will never be a socialist country. (Applause.) Got to say it.
You know, Margaret Thatcher might have said it best. She said, "The problem with socialism is you eventually run out of other people's money." And we got to tell that story, men and women. Because, you know, it's not going to be enough just to win the next election. We got to win the next generation. We got to go tell the story to younger Americans about the truth — the truth about socialist policies.
I mean, the truth is, you know, what Medicare for All really means is quality healthcare for none. And the only thing green about the Green New Deal is how much green it's going to cost all of us if they ever pass it into law. We got to tell the truth on it.
You know, there's an old saying that the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. We got to tell this rising generation here in Georgia and all across America: Socialism has been tried in dozens of countries all over the world, and it's still being tried today in places like Venezuela. Socialism has never worked before, it doesn't work now, and the American people must reject socialism and embrace freedom with renewed vigor and energy. And I know we will. (Applause.)
You know, the truth, men and women, is that the choice facing this country in the next 15 months has never been clearer, and the stakes have never been higher.
So now is the time for us to redouble our efforts. And you all coming out to the Resurgent Gathering 2019 gives evidence to the fact that you know now is the time not to be on the sidelines. You need to let your voice be heard. You need to be engaged and involved here in Georgia and all across the country.
We need to redouble our efforts to support men and women at every level who are willing to stand up for the timeless ideals that have always made this country great and are making this country great again.
And we need to redouble our efforts to make sure that President Donald Trump gets four more years in the White House. (Applause.)
You know, four more years means more jobs. Four more years means more judges. Four more years means more support for our troops. And it's going to take at least four more years to drain that swamp. (Applause.)
So let's get out and tell the story, because the stakes are that high.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: And '24! (Laughter.)
THE VICE PRESIDENT: You know, President Reagan — President Reagan used to say, memorably, "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction." And the truth is, you all understand that. It's why you're here. And I know that you're going to bring that energy and that determination that brought you here today, and that great American spirit that's been present throughout this conservative movement, throughout my lifetime, and throughout the generations to the case of the days ahead.
And I want to thank you for the honor of coming out today and the honor of giving me such a warm Georgia welcome. I really do. (Applause.)
And I also want to thank you, while I have you here, just to tell you, for this grandson of an Irish immigrant who grew up in a small town — my dad ran a gas station business; I had a dream of someday serving my country in the Congress of the United States. I got the chance to be the governor of my home state. I never imagined, in my wildest dreams, that I'd be given this opportunity.
So let me just say to Georgia: Thank you for the privilege of being your Vice President. (Applause.) I can't describe to you what (inaudible). (Applause.) Thank you.
It's very humbling to be before you today and have a chance to serve you. And I promise you, I leave here today with — with a grateful heart. I'm grateful for the support that I see here today. Grateful for the support of the people of Georgia — past, present, and future.
And I leave here today with renewed confidence. I'm confident that we're going to continue to build on the resurgence that's happening all across Georgia and all across America — the resurgence of commonsense conservative principles put into practice that are making our communities, our states, and our nations more prosperous and secure.
And as I look out across this crowd, I know that the future of this movement is also bright. But I want to say: Remember, each one of you has a role to play. So let your voice be heard in the days ahead. Go and tell freedom's story. Go talk about what we've been able to accomplish in the last two and a half years — what this movement has meant to everyday Americans in jobs and opportunities and in security, in strengthening the foundation of constitutional principle in our courts.
Make sure that siren song of socialism doesn't take hold in the hearts of the rising generation. Be champions of freedom. It's the birthright of every American. And do your part to see to it that freedom is preserved and expanded in this generation and the next.
And finally, have faith. Have faith in the American people. And in the capacity of the American people to see through all the noise and to choose freedom. I really do believe that history proves that every time the American people were offered more government or more freedom, they choose more freedom every time. So have faith in your neighbors and friends and go tell the story of our values and our ideas. (Applause.)
And have faith in this President, in your good governor; and your great senator, David Perdue; and all the great leaders that represent Georgia in Washington, D.C. who faithfully represent this state with such strength.
And finally have that — have that other kind of faith. You know, there's words enshrined on the Liberty Bell that don't often get quoted, but they're there. They're ancient words from the Book of Leviticus that says, "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land and unto all the inhabitants thereof."
You know, I truly do believe that when we become champions for liberty, we make His work on this Earth our own. And the Bible says, where the spirit of the Lord is, there's liberty. That means freedom always wins. So have faith. (Applause.) Have faith, Georgia.
So men and women of the Resurgent, thank you again for such a warm welcome. I look forward to meeting as many of you as time permits. Keep on fighting. We'll keep on fighting. And we'll keep on winning. And we're going to make Georgia and America more prosperous than ever before. We're going to make Georgia and America safer than ever before. And working together with this President, with this governor, with all our fellow conservatives in this state and nation, we're going to keep making America greater than ever before.
Thank you very much. God bless you. God bless Georgia. And God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
Mike Pence, Remarks by the Vice President at the 2nd Annual Resurgent Gathering in Atlanta, Georgia Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/334127