Former Vice President Mike Pence was met with scattered heckling on Friday, at a speech he was delivering in the home state of the president he served. As he addressed a general session at the Faith and Freedom Coalition in Orlando, there were some jeers, with some yelling "traitor" at him.
Undeterred, Pence declared himself "a Christian, a conservative and a Republican — in that order" and went on to say, as he often does, that serving as vice president alongside President Trump "was the greatest honor of my life."
He laid out what he called a "winning agenda" to take back Republican majorities in the Senate and House of Representatives in the midterm elections next year, framing opponents of the GOP as anti-Christian and anti-military.
"Our movement will reject every effort to marginalize Christians and conservatives wherever it arises. We will expose religious persecution masquerading as a quest for equal rights, and we will demand that government agencies, our military, and our public schools reject critical race theory in all its forms," Pence said.
The former vice president tried to make the case that President Biden's administration is in thrall to the those who are furthest left in the Democratic Party, telling conference attendees that "one of the most troubling developments" during the first few months of the Biden administration has been its "wholehearted embrace of the radical left's all-encompassing assault on American culture and values."
Pence claimed "patriotic education" has been replaced by "political indoctrination" and said critical race theory, which posits that racism is a social construct embedded in the country's legal, economic and political systems, teaches kids to be ashamed of their skin color.
"Critical race theory is racism, pure and simple," Pence said. "And it should be rejected by every American of every race," Pence said.
He added that it's time for America to "discard left-wing reflex to see systematic racism across the nation," and invoked Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, the only Black Republican senator, who says "America is not a racist country."
Pence also attacked the Biden administration's handling of the U.S.-Mexico border and claimed President Biden has turned the "most secure" border in the world into the worst border crisis in American history. He also called on Vice President Kamala Harris to visit the southern border.
"It is long past time for our current vice president to go to the border, put our policies back into effect and end the Biden border crisis today," Pence said.
The former vice president also offered a critique of President Biden's handling of last week's G-7 summit and accused Mr. Biden of showing weak leadership abroad. "President Biden has been so busy accommodating the sensibilities of European leaders that this week at the G-7, President Macron said how great it was to have a U.S. president back as part of the club. Well, the only club I want a U.S. president part of is labeled 'USA,'" Pence said, putting his own spin on Mr. Trump's "America first" credo.
He claimed Mr. Biden has abandoned Israel "and set off the worst outbreak of violence in the Middle East in seven years." Pence also attacked the current administration for rejoining the Paris Climate accord and announcing plans to reopen negotiations with Iran: "President Biden replaced strength with weakness, moral clarity with confusion, and loyalty with betrayal."
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