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The Mayflower Hotel
Washington, D.C.

5:56 P.M. EDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, Senator Joni Ernst.  Everybody, isn’t she amazing?  (Applause.)  Just so honored by her friendship, so grateful for her leadership.  She has served our nation in uniform, and now she serves as one of the most influential leaders in the United States Senate.  Join me in giving her another round of applause, will you?  She is truly a remarkable person.  (Applause.)

And it’s a delight to be with all of you today at the Independent Women’s Forum, in the midst of Women’s History Month.  I want to thank Carrie Lukas and Heather Higgins, all our distinguished guests, friends, and leaders.  It is an honor to be with you today as we celebrate Women’s History Month because women have been making history since before this nation was founded, and they’re making even more today.  (Applause.)

And to all of you gathered here today, all the women leaders today and all those that are gathered in support of this great organization, I bring greetings — I bring greeting from another leader who is fighting tirelessly to expand opportunities and improve the lives of the American people, especially America’s women — I bring you greetings from the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump.  (Applause.)

But it’s great to be here in the midst of this historic month.  You know, the roots of Women’s History Month stretch back to more than 100 years, when the world celebrated the first International Women’s Day in 1911.

In 1980, President Jimmy Carter declared the week of March 8th, National Women’s History Week.  Seven years later, National Women’s History Project successfully petitioned the Congress to mark the entire month of March as a month that we would remember the extraordinary contributions that women have made to the life of this nation.

And while the roots of this month stretch back a century, they’re bearing fruit all the way through today, inspiring leaders in our time.  And I’m especially proud to remember the distinguished and accomplished women who serve in the midst of our administration, like Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.  (Applause.)  Or someone who built a small business of her own, and now is helping small businesses all across America grow, Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon.  (Applause.)

And as we prepare to work with the Congress to rebuild America’s roads, and bridges, and ports, and infrastructure, I couldn’t be more proud to be serving alongside the Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao.  (Applause.)

And as we see the great progress that we’re making securing the homeland, I have to tell you, having served with her in a different capacity in the West Wing, the President and I couldn’t be more proud to have Kirstjen Nielsen as the Secretary of Homeland Security.  (Applause.)

There’s the Secretary of the United States Air Force, Heather Wilson; the head of the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services, Seema Verma, from Indiana.  (Applause.)  Our U.S. Treasurer Jovita Carranza.  (Applause.)  And do I even need to mention, the Ambassador to the United Nations for the United States of America, Nikki Haley.  (Applause.)

That is an incredible group of accomplished women leaders, and they’re making a difference in the life of this administration and the life of this nation every day, which is not to mention the great team that we have working in the West Wing, like Press Secretary Sarah Sanders — (applause) — Mercedes Schlapp — (applause) — Kellyanne Conway — (applause) — and how about a great champion of a cause the Independent Women’s Forum has taken to the national level, Ivanka Trump — (applause) — a woman inspiring the country and making a difference in this administration and for women and families all across America.

And before I leave references to our administration, I hope you all noticed, just this morning President Trump announced his plans to nominate the first woman to serve as Director — let me try that again.  (Laughter.)  I’m very excited about it because I know Gina real well and I couldn’t be more proud of her.  President Trump announced that he’ll nominate the first woman to serve as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.  Gina Haspel is stepping up to lead our nation in this vital role.  (Applause.)

Now, our administration is proud of all of the women leaders who serve in our midst and the difference that they make in the life of this nation.  And we’re proud to continue the tradition of celebrating Women’s History Month with all of you, paying tribute to all the women who have shaped our culture, our economy, our national life from the earliest days of this nation and, as I said at the outset, from well before this nation was founded.

You know, I was just walking through the Rotunda — I had a chance to visit with a few American families that were here on spring break.  And I looked at the portraits that surround the Rotunda, and I pointed out to them that four of those portraits mark the four most important moments during the Revolutionary Period.  Senator Ernst knows whereof I speak.

I used to — when I was a member of Congress, I used to love to give tours of the Capitol.  There’s the signing of the Declaration of Independence, there’s a battle at Yorktown and the like.  But on the other side of the Rotunda, there’s four moments that recount what our Founders thought were the most important moments in the nearly 200 years of history on this continent where Americans created history.  Men and women in America created extraordinary history long before our nation’s founding.

And today, in Women’s History Month, we really do remember the long-term contributions of people who have come here and who have held up freedom’s beacon high.

A few weeks ago, President Trump was proud to sign a proclamation commemorating this month, saying, in his words, “Since America’s founding, women have played an integral part in American innovation and productivity.”  And the President said, in well-chosen words, “Our history is rich with amazing stories of strong, courageous, and brilliant women.”  And we’re writing that story every day.  (Applause.)

This may be a month where we remember women’s history in America, but the truth is that women in America are making history every single day.

And today, as ever before, it’s women who make America work.  Women are graduating from college and getting advanced degrees in record numbers today.  They’re driving our economy through entrepreneurship and innovation as never before.  Women are passing on to the next generation the values that make America great.  And every day, in countless ways, American women are forging a brighter future for all who are blessed to call this nation home.

So let me take an opportunity to thank all of you for being here and to thank the organizations represented here for your tireless efforts to support and advance the cause of American women at every level.

In particular, I want to thank our host — an organization I’ve been familiar with for a long time.  For the past 26 years, the Independent Women’s Forum has been speaking out on behalf of women all across this nation, promoting the truth that free markets and individual freedom are the foundation of success for women and for every American.  Join me in thanking the Independent Women’s Forum, their great leadership, and a job well done.  (Applause.)

And let me say — to Carrie and Heather, and all of you great, enthusiastic supporters of the Independent Women’s forum — that you have a friend; you have a friend in the White House.  The truth of the matter is, this is an administration that’s fighting for American women and for Americans of every background and experience every single day.

As the Independent Women’s Forum likes to say, President Trump and I believe that, at its core, “all issues are women’s issues,” and strong families, good schools, a growing and dynamic economy are the keys to empowering American women to live up to their God-given potential.  And we’re going to continue to fight for those opportunities each and every day.

Since day one of this administration, we’ve been fighting to support America’s families, strengthen our schools, and unleash the boundless potential of the American economy.  I’m proud to report, working with great leaders in the Congress, like Senator Joni Ernst, this President has actually signed legislation to repeal 22 federal regulations for every new federal rule put on the Code of Federal Regulations.  (Applause.)  President Trump has actually signed more bills repealing federal red tape than any President in American history.  (Applause.)

Working with the Congress, we’ve unleashed American energy.  We took America out of the disastrous Paris Climate Accord.  (Applause.)  We’ve opened up opportunities to develop American energy that powers the American economy.  And, working with these great Republican majorities in the House and Senate, right before Christmas, President Trump signed the largest tax cuts and tax reform in American history.  (Applause.)

And it’s powering an American comeback.  It’s amazing to think about it; 3 million new jobs created since Inauguration Day.  (Applause.)  An American economy that is roaring back.  I don’t know if the rest of you noticed it, but just last month alone — the new jobs report came out Friday — 313,000 new jobs created.  That’s a record for nearly decades of job creation in America, and we’re just getting started.  (Applause.)

A growing economy is great news for every American but it’s especially great news for women in the workforce in this country.  Nearly 40 percent of entrepreneurs in America today are women.  And for them, and for all job creators, the actions that President Trump has been taking with strong partners in Congress are making growing a business easier than ever before.

But for all we’ve accomplished, President Trump — he looks at what we did all last year in judicial appointments, and men and women appointed in record numbers to the court of appeals — this President and this Senate confirmed more court of appeals judges in a single year than any President in American history.  (Applause.)  Conservatives all.  And we couldn’t be more proud of the men and women that we’re appointing to our courts.  In a very real sense, restoring constitutional fealty back to the courts of the land.

But for all that we’ve done for the economy and for the courts, for all that we’ve done to rebuild our military, and have America standing tall in the world again, that’s just what President Trump calls a good start.  (Applause.)  And let me assure you, we’re going to continue to work with members of Congress to keep this economy moving again and keep expanding opportunities for the women and men of this country.

First and foremost, we’re going to stand with our heroes.  And in just a few short weeks, I’m proud to report that President Trump, with the strong support of Senator Ernst and our majorities in the Congress of the United States, President Trump is going to sign the largest increase in our national defense since the days of Ronald Reagan.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Semper Fi!  Oorah!

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  We’re incredibly proud — (laughter) — of our armed forces.  And I have to tell you, as a proud father of a United States Marine, myself, I couldn’t be more proud of the men and women that have stepped forward to serve.  It’s important to note, today — just like the extraordinary women who introduced me wore the uniform of the United States — today more than 212,000 women are active-duty members of the Armed Forces of the United States.  (Applause.)

And we’re going to continue to expand opportunities here at home.  I mentioned that infrastructure bill.  We’re going to work with the Congress to expand opportunities for infrastructure.  You know, roads mean jobs, and when the — when President and I talk about that, we don’t just mean road jobs.  We mean that it’s going to create the kind of arteries of commerce that will create opportunities for business leaders — women and men all across this country.

And we’re going to continue to fight for real education reform.  As you hear, our Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, we’re going to continue to fight for the principle that every parent in America should be able to choose where their children go to school.  (Applause.)

And let me take this opportunity, also, to stand — thank the Independent Women’s Forum for your leadership on an issue affecting women in the workforce and affecting families.  Your scholars have played a vital role in raising awareness about the challenges facing working parents.  Your research and proposals have brought forward a Republican proposal — a conservative proposal — and we are going to deliver paid family leave to working families and working women in America.  (Applause.)

And I’m grateful.  I’m grateful to this organization for your efforts in that regard.  And we’ll be working with you to make that.  It’s a part of our budget.  Ivanka Trump has been a champion of this and we are grateful.  Grateful for the thought leaders here at the Independent Women’s Forum, as you work toward that end.

In the days ahead, our administration can continue — we’re going to continue to work to expand opportunities for every American and for women across this country.  We’ll continue also paying tribute to the extraordinary women who’ve helped define America’s history.

We think of patriots like Mary Katherine Goddard, who actually printed the second copy of the Declaration of Independence in the midst of our Revolutionary War.

We think of heroes like Harriet Tubman, who risked her life to escape the bondage of slavery and then help hundreds of her fellow Americans do the same through the Underground Railroad.  (Applause.)

We think of pioneers like Susan B. Anthony, who fought tirelessly — (applause) — not only to secure the women’s right to vote but to stand up — to stand up for the unalienable right to life in the course of her life and career.

But it’s not just women in history that we celebrate.  We celebrate women who are leading in America today, like Senator Joni Ernst, like Senator Deb Fischer, like Senator Shelley Moore Capito.  (Applause.)

And in the House of Representatives there is Congresswoman Cathy McMorris-Rodgers, a member of the Republican leadership.  (Applause.)  And Congresswoman Diane Black, Marsha Blackburn, Kristen Noem, Jenniffer Gonzalez, Martha McSally, Mia Love, and Liz Cheney, just to name a few.  (Applause.)  A rising generation of women leaders in America and we’re proud of all of them.

And it’s not just in Washington, D.C.  As a former governor, I couldn’t be more proud to call friends and colleagues, Governor Mary Fallin, Governor Kim Reynolds, Governor Kay Ivey, and Governor Susanna Martinez.  (Applause.)

Heroes in public life are one thing, but we have to commend all the women who are heroes each and every day in businesses, and our communities, and in our homes across this nation.  It’s the women of America who in every real sense throughout our history have lifted our communities, have lifted our families, have lifted our nation.  They’ve built businesses.  They’ve built communities.  They’ve helped build families into this extraordinary fabric that we call American life.

So in this month, we want to celebrate.  We want to celebrate all that women have accomplished in the life of this nation.  But we also want to rededicate ourselves to continue to expand opportunities for women in this country.

You know, I speak to you now, not as your Vice President but as the — not just the proud father of a United States Marine, but the especially proud dad of two extraordinarily strong and independent young women — my daughters, Charlotte and Audrey.  (Applause.)

My daughter, Charlotte, is a writer.  She lives on the West Coast, and you’ll probably be hearing more about her writing in the days ahead.  And my daughter, Audrey, is up at a law school up in Connecticut and doing real well in her first year.  I couldn’t be more proud.  I couldn’t be more proud of them, and I also couldn’t be more proud of the extraordinary woman that helped to raise them, the Second Lady of the United States, Karen Pence.  (Applause.)

You know, I think the reason why we — why we’ve raised two girls who are career minded and grounded in their lives, and accomplished things that we’d only dream of at that age in our lives is because they were raised by a professional woman themselves.

My wife, Karen, paid her way through college.  She rolled her sleeves up.  After finishing with high marks in high school, she went off, got some scholarships, worked some part-time jobs, and worked her way through school.  And just wanted to be a schoolteacher.  She got her master’s degree under her belt real quick, and then she taught second grade, and then she was an art teacher.  Spent more than 20 years on and off in the classroom, and I think it’s still where she is happiest today.

The truth is that other than the time that she took to be at home to raise our kids, I just think — I think her time as a professional helped shape our kids because they saw who she was.  They saw her commitment to the children in her classrooms and the impact that she made in those children’s lives.  And that really is the inspiration.  That’s the inspiration to shape the lives of my daughters and to shape the lives of America’s daughters throughout our history, and it will continue to shape that.

And that influence, I truly believe, is reflective of all that is best about this country and all that is best about American women.

So let me just say, on behalf of the President of the United States, on behalf of your Vice President, on behalf of our families, and our administration, thank you to all of you for celebrating Women’s History Month.  Thank you to the Independent Women’s Forum for working every single day to continue to expand opportunities for America’s women to continue to do more, to accomplish more.

I truly do believe — I truly do believe that for all the contributions that America’s women have made since the long and storied history of this country, the women of this country have only just begun to make a difference in the greatest nation on Earth.  (Applause.)

So thank you.  God bless you in this Women’s History Month.  And God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)


6:16 P.M. EDT