“The vice president is a man of faith,” Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family, said in his introduction. “He’s one of us. And I’ve been asked by the media over and over again, why did you invite the vice president? It’s a simple answer: He’s a man of faith, he believes in life, he believes in marriage.”
Pence was then welcomed to the stage, alongside his wife Karen Pence.
Daly asked Pence for permission to speak with his wife, which the vice president granted.
She thanked Focus on the Family for helping “raise our children” and “raise up our children.” She also characterized her husband’s political career as “a calling on our life.”
Pence talks up Focus on the Family & Trump administration
Pence congratulated the organization on 40 years of work, and promised them that “you have an unwavering ally in President Donald Trump.”
“He was excited that I was coming here today and wanted me to give you all his thanks and regards,” Pence added to applause.
Pence called Focus on the Family a “cornerstone of American life for so many Americans” and called its founder, James Dobson, on whose radio program he appeared during the presidential campaign, a “friend and mentor to me.”
When Pence wasn’t talking up the work of Focus on the Family, he was promoting the administration’s agenda, and presenting Trump as a president who was one of them.
He pointed to the president’s words at the National Prayer Breakfast, where he spoke of the importance of so-called “religious freedom,” so often used as a license to discriminate against the LGBTQ community.
Pence also noted Trump’s signing of an executive order going after the Johnson Amendment, which prevents nonprofits, including churches, from politicking for any particular candidate or party.
“The freedom of speech shouldn’t stop at the front doors of our churches and synagogues,” he said.
He added that the goal also stretched abroad, declaring “protecting and promoting religious freedom” a “foreign policy priority of the Trump administration.”
“President has stood without apology for the most vulnerable in our society,” Pence said, somehow keeping a straight face. “The aged, the infirmed, the disabled, and the unborn.”
Pence promises to defend Planned Parenthood
Pence announced from the stage that Focus on the Family would be donating an ultrasound machine in his and his wife’s name to the Life Center in Wabash, Indiana through its Option Ultrasound program. He called it “deeply meaningful” and said he was sure it would “save innocent lives.”
The vice president spoke proudly of casting the tie-breaking vote to defund Planned Parenthood, and promised that this was just the beginning.
“Later this summer, when we repeal and replace Obamacare, we’re going to defund Planned Parenthood once and for all!” Pence pledged, to a standing ovation.
“Rest assured, the president and I will be fighting to protect the provisions in this bill that honor the sanctity of life,” he said.
He asked those in attendance to rally behind the health care bill, to help get it “across the finish line.”
“While discussions will continue, let me be very clear that the president and I are very supportive of the Senate bill,” he added.
To make matters worse, Trump’s proposed budget would cut $300 million from HIV/AIDS funding. The president’s obvious apathy on the issues led to six members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) to quit in protest.
Watch the event in the video below. Pence takes the stage around the 2 hour, 12 minute mark.