Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center
Oxon Hill, Maryland
10:55 A.M. EST
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, hello CPAC! (Applause.) And thank you to my wonderful wife, Karen. Isn’t she something? A teacher, an artist, a Marine Corps mom, and the Second Lady of the United States. Would you give Karen one more round of applause for all that she does for the cause and the country? (Applause.)
And it is great to be back at CPAC 2018, the largest gathering of conservatives in America every single year. (Applause.) Thank you all for being here.
And before I begin and talk about the progress we’ve made, allow me to take a moment to address what I know is on all our hearts this morning, the terrible attack that claimed the lives of 17 Americans and injured more last week in Parkland, Florida.
In America, we mourn with those who mourn, and grieve with those who grieve. And yesterday, President Trump and I met with the family of Meadow Pollack, and other students and families reeling from the attack in Parkland. We also met in the White House with families from other communities who have experienced the same violence firsthand. And as the President said, we’ll never forget them. We prayed with them, we listened to them, as they poured out their hearts. As the President said, “No child, no teacher, should ever be in danger in an American school.” (Applause.)
Earlier this week, President Trump called on Congress to strengthen background checks. And two days ago, he directed the Department of Justice to expedite the regulation of bump stocks.
Later this week, when the President meets with the nation’s governors in our nation’s capital, we’ll make the safety of our nation’s schools and our students our top national priority. (Applause.)
I can assure you all of this: President Trump and our entire administration will continue to take strong action to make our schools safe and to give law enforcement and our families the tools they need to deal with those struggling with dangerous mental illness. (Applause.)
So as we move forward, we’ll continue to work and we’ll continue, with all of you, to pray for God’s grace and comfort for all the families impacted by this terrible attack. And we’ll pray for God’s wisdom, that all of us in positions of authority, that we might find a way to come together with American solutions to confront and end this evil in our time. (Applause.) So, thank you.
It is great to be back at CPAC. (Applause.) I stand here today with profound gratitude to say that because of all of you, because of the conservative majorities in Congress that you helped elect, and because of the strong leadership of the President you put in the White House, 2017 was the most consequential year in the history of the conservative movement. (Applause.) True.
And tomorrow, you’ll hear firsthand from the man who galvanized that movement. (Applause.) You know I spoke to him on the phone this morning, and I can tell you he can’t wait to get here. (Applause.) The man who won a historic election, the man who has been delivering on the promises that he made every day since, the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump. (Applause.)
I’m here because I stand with President Trump. I’m here because we stand with the conservative movement. And come to think of it, we always stand for our flag and our national anthem as well. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: USA! USA! USA!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: But what a year. When President Trump addressed you last February, he declared, in his words, that our “victory was a victory and a win for conservative values.” And so it was.
And now he and I are both back here at CPAC this week to thank you for everything you’ve done to advance our cause. Because of your support in this past year, it’s been a year of action, it’s been a year of remarkable results. In a word, it’s been a year of promises made, and promises kept. (Applause.)
I mean, think about it: President Trump promised to rebuild our military and restore the arsenal of democracy. And in just a few weeks, he’ll sign the largest investment in our national defense since the days of Ronald Reagan. (Applause.)
He promised to stand without apology for the men and women of law enforcement. And today, we’re once again giving those peace officers the respect and the resources they deserve, all across America. (Applause.)
President Trump promised to enforce our laws, secure our borders, and today, illegal crossings at our southern border have been cut nearly in half. And make no mistake about it, we’re going to build that wall. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Build that wall! Build that wall! Build that wall!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: He promised to appoint strong conservatives to the federal courts at every level, and President Trump came through. He appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court — (applause) — and set a record for the most circuit court judges appointed in the first year of any administration in history. (Applause.)
And President Donald Trump promised to stand for the inalienable right to life. (Applause.) And from the first day of this administration, he reinstated the Mexico City Policy. And I was honored to cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate to send a bill to the President’s desk to allow states to defund Planned Parenthood. (Applause.)
On the economy, we’ve unleashed American energy, approved the Keystone and Dakota Pipelines, and President Trump put America first when he withdrew the United States of America from the Paris Climate Accord. (Applause.)
And we’ve been busy rolling back the heavy hand of government, as well. This President has actually repealed 22 regulations for every new federal rule put on the books. (Applause.)
And finally, President Trump promised to cut taxes across the board for working families and job creators. And two months ago today, President Trump signed the largest tax cuts and tax reform in American history. (Applause.) Promises made, promises kept.
And on the world stage, we’ve also been restoring strong American leadership. And under President Donald Trump, America once again stands without apology as leader of the free world. (Applause.)
Our NATO Allies are contributing more to our common defense than ever before. And for decades, after one President after another promised to move the U.S. Embassy to the capital of our most cherished ally — (applause) — President Trump made history on December 6th when the United States of America recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel. (Applause.)
So we’ve stood with our allies, and we’ve stood up to our enemies. And nowhere is that more true than in the fight against radical Islamic terror. Under this Commander-in-Chief, we’ve taken the fight to the terrorists — on our terms, on their soil. (Applause.)
Thanks to the courage of our armed forces, and the leadership of this Commander-in-Chief, ISIS is on the run, their caliphate has crumbled, and we will not rest or relent until we destroy ISIS at its source so it can no longer threaten our nation, our allies, or our way of life. (Applause.)
And we put the leading state sponsor of terror on notice, as well. The United States will no longer tolerate Iran’s destabilizing activities across the region, and this country will no longer certify the disastrous Iran nuclear deal. (Applause.)
And in the wake of provocations and threats against the United States and our allies, we’ve made it clear to North Korea that the era of strategic patience is over. (Applause.)
Two weeks ago, I was honored to lead the official delegation to the Opening Ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, where we cheered on Team USA. But as you all know, many in the mainstream media seemed quite taken with another dignitary.
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE VICE PRESIDENT: You know, for all the media fawning over the sister of the North Korean dictator, I think it’s important that every American knows who this person is and what she’s done. The sister of Kim Jong-un is a central pillar of the most tyrannical and oppressive regime on the planet — an evil family clique that brutalizes, subjugates, starves, and imprisons its 25 million people.
Even the United Nations reported that, in their words, “The gravity, scale, and nature of these violations reveal a state that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world.” That’s why the United States government has sanctioned her for her role in abetting North Korea’s horrendous human rights abuses and crimes against humanity.
People are routinely jailed and executed for the most minor acts of defiance. And every American remembers the heartbreaking story of Otto Warmbier.
So for all those in the media who think I should have stood and cheered with the North Koreans —
THE VICE PRESIDENT: — I say: The United States of America doesn’t stand with murderous dictatorships. We stand up to murderous dictatorships. (Applause.)
And we will keep standing strong until North Korea stops threatening our country, our allies, or until they abandon their nuclear and ballistic missiles once and for all. (Applause.)
So in this White House, it’s about strength; it’s about growth for our nation. And it’s working. America is more secure, and our economy is booming.
Since Election Day 2016, businesses large and small have created more than 2.5 million new jobs across this country. (Applause.) Unemployment hasn’t been this low in 17 years, and more Americans are working today than ever before in American history. (Applause.)
After eight years of a stagnant economy and wages that wouldn’t budge, American workers are seeing their paychecks rise faster today than at any point in nearly a decade.
And more than 1.5 million Americans have left the rolls of food stamps and now are able to support and sustain themselves with dignity and self-worth. (Applause.)
But I know in my heart that the best is yet to come, because as we speak, our economy has already started to feel the effects of that historic tax cut. About 90 percent of working Americans are going to get a tax cut. Millions are already seeing more money in their paychecks, and feeling it in their wallets. And we didn’t just cut taxes on your income. The Obamacare individual mandate tax is gone. (Applause.)
You know, since the President’s tax cuts became the law of the land, businesses large and small have actually announced more than $480 billion in new investments, in American jobs, American workers. And in just the past two months, more than 4.3 million Americans have already gotten a raise or a bonus — and we’re just getting started. (Applause.) Folks, that’s great news. That’s great news.
But not everybody thinks it’s that big of a deal. (Laughter.) I don’t know if you heard, but the woman that wants to be Speaker of the House again, Nancy Pelosi, said —
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE VICE PRESIDENT: She said — she actually said the tax cuts would be “Armageddon” before they passed. But just a few days ago, she said it was “unpatriotic” to let the American people keep more of what they earned. But most amazingly of all, she keeps saying that a $1,000 bonus for working Americans is nothing more than “crumbs.”
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, let me remind all of you, I come from the Joseph A. Bank wing of the West Wing of the White House. (Laughter.)
I mean, seriously, folks. When our kids were little, we had a term for another $1,000 in our paycheck at the end of the year: Christmas. (Applause.) You with me?
I mean, these bonuses have meant real money. They help working families all across this country, with the pay raises that are generating opportunities even as we speak. And I want to say from my heart, any leader who says that a $1,000 in the pockets of working families is “crumbs” is out of touch with the American people. (Applause.)
You know, it would be a disaster for our cause if Nancy Pelosi became Speaker of the House again. But we’re not going to let that happen. (Applause.) But this movement should know it’s a very real threat. Because the other side knows exactly what’s at stake between now and the end of this year.
The far left has watched with dismay as we’ve dismantled the liberal legacy of the last administration and turned this country around. (Applause.) And they’re doing everything they can to try and win back the Congress next November.
I mean, we don’t have to wonder what would happen if the party of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer won the House and the Senate this November, do we? I mean, remember the last time it happened? I do. I was actually there the last time Democrats ran the Congress, and they nearly ran America into the ground.
They raised taxes, they cut the military, they tried to pass cap-and-trade, they gave us Dodd-Frank and the Obamacare nightmare. I mean, they thought they could borrow, spend, and bail their way back to a growing America.
In the past few years, the Democrats have only fallen further to the left. Their platform, as we all know, can be summed up in one word: resist. Resist our policies, resist our President, and resist the results that you and I and our entire movement have fought so hard to achieve. So it’s up to us to stand up to them and stand up for the American people and the progress that we’ve made. (Applause.)
But the other side is motivated. They’re mobilized. So today, to the men and women of this conservative movement, I admonish you. Let this be the day that we as a movement decided to deliver another victory for the American people in 2018. (Applause.)
I mean, we threw out the playbook in 2016, and we’re going to throw it out in 2018. If all of us do all that we can, from this day forward, I know we’ll continue to achieve historic victories for our movement and for America.
The choices that we make in the days ahead and the promises that we make to one another, and the actions we take will shape our nation for generations to come.
But today, on behalf of President Trump and our entire administration, I’m asking every member of this movement to go back home to your communities, to your workplaces. Talk to your families, your friends, and your neighbors. Tell them what they don’t hear in the media about everything that we’ve accomplished.
Tell them how the policies the President has advanced are making a difference in the lives of American families and enterprises, and in the life of our nation. Tell them we’ve cut their taxes and put more in their pockets. Tell them we’re restoring American strength at home and abroad, so their families can sleep safe at night. And tell them that thanks to our administration, confidence is back, jobs are coming back. Just tell them America is back. (Applause.)
And as we prepare for the challenges ahead, let’s remember, progress is driven by the people who show up. Your President and I need you to show up, defend all that we’ve accomplished and all that we have yet to do. We can’t turn back, men and women. We can’t give anything less than everything
America is counting on us. But I know in my heart that we’ll come through and you’ll come through for this country once again. I’ve seen the courage and conviction that defines the men and women of the conservative movement all my life. And I see it in your faces this morning.
And, my friends, the truth is we live in a time of widening challenges and unknowable threats; a time of too much division and too much anger in America.
You know, it seems like we’re becoming more and more disconnected from each other, too often unable or unwilling to meet our fellow citizens where they are to do what the President did yesterday, just to listen to one another in a spirit of humility and respect. And increasingly, it seems like we’ve lost sight. We’ve lost sight of who we are as a people. That the truth is, here in the United States of America — it’s true today and it’s always been true — but there will always be more that unites us than will ever divide the good and great people of this country. (Applause.)
So let’s try to reconnect in the days and the debates that come ahead. Reconnect with one another. Reconnect with our communities. And lastly, I also believe that we should also seek, in these challenging times, to reconnect to something deeper, something that speaks to the very heart of who we are. Someone who I believe has always been the source of our strength and, more than that, our hope.
Yesterday, we mourned the passing of one of the greatest Americans of the past century, the Reverend Billy Graham. (Applause.) We remembered his ministry, a ministry for the Gospel that changed millions. And we remember his matchless voice inspired our nation during some of our darkest times.
I remembered one such time, just yesterday, his words at the National Cathedral, 17 years ago. Words spoken just three days after the worst attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor. I was there as a first-term member of Congress, and I’ll never forget what he said. On that day, Billy Graham said to the American people, “The spirit of this nation will not be defeated.” But he admonished Americans to, in his words, “come together to confess our need for God.”
He said, “We’ve always needed God from the beginning of this nation, but today we need him especially.” And he reminded us that the Bible says, “God is our refuge and strength, and ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear.”
And so with that admonition in my heart, I close today with faith. Faith in the boundless capacity of the American people. Faith in the President and the leaders they’ve elected to represent them, at every level. And with that other kind of faith, what Billy Graham called “hope for the present and hope for the future.”
And in the days ahead, as we work to advance our cause, restore our country, let us also remember to claim that hope. Remembering those ancient words 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. This one nation — (applause) — under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all. (Applause.)
So to this conservative movement, I say today, we’ve accomplished much in a little more than a year, but we’ve got a lot more to do. With the renewed commitment of this rising generation, with the support of strong conservative majorities in the Congress, with President Donald Trump in the White House — (applause) — and with God’s help, I know we will make America safe again. We will make America prosperous again. And to borrow a phrase we will make America great again. (Applause.)
Thank you very much. God bless you all. And God bless the United States of America.
11:24 A.M. EST