Vice President Mike Pence received a standing ovation Friday morning after a speech in which he repeatedly praised freedom and derided socialism.
"Freedom, not socialism" has led to America's achievements on the world stage, Pence told a friendly audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Criticism of socialism has been a common theme at the conference as a reaction to Democrats such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders promoting socialist policies.
"America will never be a socialist country," Pence said, quoting President Donald Trump from the State of the Union. The comment received a standing ovation from the crowd and followed with chants of "U.S.A."
The vice president praised the Trump's presidency for federal tax ; for cutting "more federal red tape than any president in American history," for helping the U.S. become the largest producer of natural gas and oil in the world; and for a booming economy that's led to the lowest unemployment in a half of a century.
"That's promises made and promises kept," Pence said. He specifically noted that women unemployment, black unemployment and Asian unemployment are the lowest in American history. With 5.3 million new jobs, he said that more Americans are working than ever in American history.
Pence credited Trump with successful trade deals, which he said led to some of these successes, especially the growth in manufacturing jobs. He said that wages are rising more than they have in a decade.
"The forgotten men and women in America are forgotten no more," Pence said.
The vice president also took to campaigning during the speech, asking the audience whether they wanted to keep these accomplishments or have Democrats get elected and reverse them. The crowd cheered re-election and booed Democrats. He also said that getting more conservatives elected in state legislative races will help the country be more prosperous.
Along with praising the economy, Pence discussed immigration, national security, abortion and the First Amendment.
Pence defended Trump for calling a national emergency on immigration that some Democrats are trying to reverse. He said that Democrats were playing politics with American security and manufacturing outrage. For every day that we don’t secure the border, he said, "we are putting Americans’ safety at risk."
"Under this president and this administration, we will never abolish ICE” and the administration has already started building the wall, Pence said. “Before we’re done, we’re gonna built it all.”
The crowd chanted “build the wall,” to which Pence responded “Oh, we’re building it.”
On national security, Pence commended the president for raising spending on national defense, promising to build a space force and gaining ground in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. He said that Iran will never create a nuclear weapon under this administration and accused the country of wanting to initiate another holocaust.
Additionally, Pence said that Trump is the most pro-life president in American history and applauded his support for religious freedom, which he said is currently under attack.