NASHVILLE, Tennessee — Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday personally thanked the Volunteer State for helping put President Trump in office.
“We were counting on Tennessee last fall and Tennessee delivered,” Pence said during his keynote speech at the Tennessee Republican Party’s Statesmen’s Dinner.
The annual fundraising event was held at the Music City Center in downtown Nashville. Republican Gov. Bill Haslam gave opening remarks.
In November, Trump won 61 percent of the vote in Tennessee, taking all but three counties – Davidson, Shelby and Haywood.
Pence in his speech also celebrated the news that broke Thursday about West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice switching from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party.
Pence devoted most of his speech to praising Trump’s successes in office and his plans for the coming months.
He said Trump is slashing more regulations than any other president in American history, and noted the president’s efforts to roll back progressive environmental policies, such as ending the “war on coal” and withdrawing from the Paris climate accord. Pence also lauded Trump for increasing defense spending, strengthening border protection and cracking down on gangs such as MS-13. In the area of foreign policy, Pence said other countries know that the U.S. will stand with its allies and stand up to its enemies because of Trump’s decisive actions.
“President Trump stands without apology as the leader of the free world,” said Pence, who called Trump “a man of his word” and “a man of action.”
Pence also touted Trump’s efforts to protect the lives of unborn children and his appointment of conservative judges to courts at all levels.
He said he and Trump plan to continue to press Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare.
“Obamacare has failed and Obamacare must go,” he said.
Pence said in coming days, Trump expects to sign off on the largest tax cuts since the days of former President Ronald Reagan. He will simplify the tax code, end loopholes for special interests, end the death tax and cut the business tax rate, Pence said.
Pence closed his speech by asking those in attendance to pray for America and he referred to a Bible verse, 2 Chronicles 7:14, that says, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
Before becoming vice president, Pence, 58, served as governor of his native Indiana and as a congressman. He practiced law and also hosted The Mike Pence Show, a syndicated talk radio show and a weekly television public affairs program in Indiana. Pence and his wife, Karen, have three children.
Scott Golden, chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party, said Thursday’s fundraising dinner was the largest in the party’s history. It has raised nearly $850,000, with some funds still to be counted. Around 2,000 people attended.
Many Tennessee Republican politicians and party leaders attended, including U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker.
Entertainment was provided by country and bluegrass artist Ricky Skaggs.