Vice President Mike Pence landed in Flagstaff to appear at a Make America Great Again Victory Rally, which was held at Flagstaff Pulliam Airport’s Wiseman Aviation hangar. Hundreds gathered on Oct. 30 to watch a line-up of Republican speakers voice their support for President Donald Trump's campaign for reelection.
Introduced by Governor Doug Ducey, who received audible boos when he took the stage, Pence spoke to the crowd for approximately 50 minutes about issues ranging from border security to the importance of economic growth. Pence promoted down-ballot Republicans including Martha McSally, Paul Gosar and Tiffany Shedd. He also called for voters to reelect Markwayne Mullin who, although he had spoken earlier at the event, serves as the representative of the second congressional district of Oklahoma.
The talking point perhaps referenced most frequently by Pence was the economy. Pence issued multiple refrains about the Trump administration creating the “greatest economy in American history.” However, this statement is false, according to Poynter Institute.
Additionally Pence referred to Vice President Joe Biden’s tax plan and said it would cost taxpayers $4 trillion and that amount would be “just a down payment.” However, that number reflects a decade’s worth of tax revenue, according to the Tax Policy Center, which also estimated 90% of the tax increase would be shouldered by the top 20% of American earners.
In reference to COVID-19, Pence said, “No American who ever required a ventilator was denied one, no one [who] has required an ICU bed was denied one.”
Afterward, he referenced rising cases in “the heartland” and here in Arizona, but assured the crowd the Trump administration would “move heaven and earth” to make sure doctors had all they needed.
Another top talking point was border security. Pence said the Trump administration deported over 16,000 gang members over the administration’s first three years. This number was gathered from a US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) report and includes “suspected gang members.” The process for determining suspected gang members is unclear.
Pence said he was proud of the endorsement of Trump from the National Border Union and National ICE Council. The vice president also referenced the border wall, stating nearly 400 miles of wall have already been built, 200 miles of which were built in Arizona.
“With four more years, we’re going to build it all,” Pence said.
According to The Washington Post, most of the barrier that has been built was replacement of already existing barriers on the 1,954 mile-long border.
Pence also took time to express his support for the nation’s law enforcement while also condemning the protests and destruction of property in Philadelphia.
“The men and women who serve across this state and nation are some of the best people in this country and they deserve the respect of every American every day,” Pence said.
Pence asserted there need not be a choice between supporting law enforcement and supporting the Black community. This was in reference to funding given to historically Black colleges and universities by the Trump administration. This funding came in the form of the FUTURE Act, legislation continuing an Obama-era program, that Trump signed in 2019.
Repeated throughout the event were references to the assault on “traditional values” that speakers viewed as coming from the Democratic party. Pence said, “You all deserve to know that when Joe Biden was vice president we saw a steady assault on the freedom of religion in America.”
Pence also said Biden would be a “Trojan horse for the radical left.” When Pence mentioned Nancy Pelosi, chants of “lock her up” spread through the crowd. During a break between warm-up speakers and Pence’s arrival, a man in the crowd shouted, “Tie up Democrats, hang ‘em from a tree.”
Meanwhile, Pence said, “I’ll always believe that there’s more that unites this country than could ever divide us and chief among those things faith. This is a nation of faith.”
Pence also directly appealed to Arizona’s history of voting for Republican presidents. In 68 years, Arizona has only voted to elect a Democratic president once in 1996 when Bill Clinton was running for reelection. Pence ended his speech with an appeal to the crowd to vote, speak to people they know about their choice to reelect Trump and to pray for America.