CLEVELAND — Indiana Governor Mike Pence’s vice presidential acceptance speech was essentially his own introduction to the world. He told the delegates a little bit about himself and admitted he never really expected to be where he is today.
His speech seemed to win the delegates over, and at one point they even chanted, “We like Mike!”
Read the full transcript of his speech below.
Mr. Chairman, delegates, friends, and my fellow Americans: Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am deeply humbled by your confidence, and on behalf of my family here and gone, I accept your nomination to run and serve as Vice President of the United States of America.
I thank Speaker Paul Ryan for that gracious welcome. You’re a true friend and a great American leader. But Paul knows the introduction I prefer is a little shorter. I’m a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order.
I’m new to this campaign, and honestly I never thought I’d be standing here. I thought I’d be spending this evening with my friends in the Indiana delegation.
Yet, there I was a few days ago in New York City with the man who won 37 states … faced 16 talented opponents and outlasted every one of them … and along the way brought millions of new voters into the Republican Party. He’s a man known for his large personality, his colorful style, and his charisma – and, well, I guess he was looking for someone to balance the ticket.
For those of you who don’t know me, which is most of you, I grew up on the front row of the American dream. My grandfather immigrated to this country, and I was raised in a small town in Southern Indiana in a big family with a cornfield in the backyard. Although we weren’t really a political family, the heroes of my youth were President John F. Kennedy and the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
When I was young, I watched my Mom and Dad build everything that matters – a family, a business, and a good name. I was raised to believe in hard work, faith and family. My Dad, Ed Pence, was a combat veteran in Korea who ran gas stations in our small town, and was a great father. If Dad were still with us, I have a feeling he would have enjoyed this moment … and probably been pretty surprised by it. But it’s my joy to tell you that my mother is here, still in shock over the news I called her with last week. Would you welcome my Mom, Nancy?
Growing up I actually started in politics in the other party, until I heard the voice and the ideals of the 40th President, and I signed on for the Reagan Revolution.
The best thing that ever happened to me – even counting tonight – is that 31 years ago, I married the girl of my dreams … a school teacher and artist. She’s everything to me. Let me introduce you to my wonderful wife, Karen Pence.
And regardless of any title I ever hold, the highest role I will ever play is Dad. Karen and I are blessed to be the parents of the three greatest kids in the world … a writer named Charlotte, a college student named Audrey,
and a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps, Michael J. Pence. Proud of you guys.
If you know anything about Hoosiers, you know we like to suit up and compete. We play to win. That is why I joined this campaign in a heartbeat. You have nominated a man for president who never quits, who never backs down — a fighter, and a winner. Until now, he has had to do it all by himself, against all odds. But this week, with this united party, come November 8, I know we will elect Donald Trump to be the 45th President of the United States of America.
We will win because we are running on the issues facing this country, and because we are leveling with the American people about the stakes and the choice. The American people are tired of being told. They’re tired of being told that this is as good as it gets. Tired of hearing politicians in both parties tell us that we will get to that tomorrow while we pile a mountain range of debt on our children and grandchildren. As Ronald Reagan used to say, we’re tired of being told that a little intellectual elite in a far distant capital can plan our lives better for us than we can plan them for ourselves.
In the end, this election comes down to just two names on the ballot; So let’s resolve here and now that Hillary Clinton will never become President of the United States of America. Hillary Clinton essentially offers a third Obama term. The role is perfect for her. She championed Obamacare because years earlier she had all but invented it. The national debt has nearly doubled in these eight years, and her only answer is to keep borrowing and spending. Like the president, she thinks that the path to a growing economy is more taxes and more regulation and more government.
They tell us this economy is the best that we can do. It’s nowhere near the best that we can do. It’s just the best that they can do. Let me tell you, I know firsthand, it dow not have to be like this. In my home state of Indiana, we prove every day that you can build a growing economy on balanced budgets, low taxes, even while making record investments in education and roads and healthcare.
You know, Indiana is a state that works because conservative principles work every time you put them into practice. The nation suffers under the weight of $19 trillion in national debt, we in Indiana have a $2 billion surplus. The highest credit rating in the nation, even though we’ve cut taxes every year since I became governor four years ago. We have fewer state employees than when I took office, and businesses large and small have created nearly 150,000 new jobs. That is what you can do with commonsense Republican leadership, and that is exactly what the no-nonsense leadership of Donald Trump will bring to the White House.
Donald Trump gets it. He’s the genuine article. He is a doer in a game usually reserved for talkers. When Donald Trump does his talking, he doesn’t tiptoe around the thousand new rules of political correctness. He is his own man. Distinctly American. And where else would an independent spirit like that find a following than in the land of the free and the home of the brave?
The funny thing is, the party in power seems helpless to figure out the nominee. The media has the same problem. They all keep telling each other that the usual methods will work against him. They keep thinking that they’ve done him in, only to wake up the next morning and find that Donald Trump is still standing and stronger than ever before.
The man just doesn’t quit. He is tough. He perseveres. He has gone about as far as you can go in business, but he has never turned his back on the working men and women who serve and protect us at home and abroad.
It has been a heartbreaking time for the women and men in our law enforcement community. In this time of great testing for them, let’s let them know here and now, all across this country, we will always stand with those who stand on the thin blue line of law enforcement in America.
Now, while Donald Trump was taking my measure as a possible running mate, I did some observing myself. I have seen the way he deals with people who work for him at every level. I’ve seen the way they feel about working for him. I grant you, he can be a little rough with politicians on stage, and I bet we see that again.
But I have seen this good man up close. His utter lack of pretense, his respect for the people who work for him, and his devotion to his family. If you still doubt what I’m saying, as we say back home, you can’t fake good kids. How about his amazing children? Aren’t they something? These are the true measures of our nominee. Chosen by the voters as the right man for these times. This is the outsider, my running mate — turned a longshot campaign into a movement.
Over in the other party, the idea was to present the exact opposite of a political outsider. The exact opposite of a calculating truth-teller. On that score, you have to hand it to the Democratic establishment — they outdid themselves this time.
At the very moment when America is crying out for something new and different, the other party has answered with a stale agenda and the most predictable of names. People in both parties are restless for change, ready to break free from old patterns in Washington, and Democrats are about to anoint someone who represents everything this country is tired of. You know, Hillary Clinton wants a better title. And I would too if I was already America’s secretary of the status quo.
The choice could not be more clear: Americans can elect someone who literally personifies the field establishment in Washington D.C., or we can choose a leader who will fight every day to make America great again. It is change versus status quo, and my fellow Republicans when Donald Trump becomes President of the United States, the change will be huge.
For years we have had fundamental problems in America that get talked to death in Washington D.C., but they never get solved. They even get worse. We’ve seen entire stretches of our country the written off by bad economic policies in ways that are deeply unfair. We see relentless mandates from the executive branch. It seems like no aspect of our lives is too small for the present administration to supervise, and no provision of the Constitution is too large for them to ignore.
Meanwhile, we have seen borders that go unrespected, A military that has been diminished, promise after ringing promise to our veterans promptly forgotten. Then Donald Trump came along and started saying what practically everybody was thinking anyway, that our leaders need to be stronger. Under Donald Trump, our deals will be stronger. Under Donald Trump, our deals will be smarter, our soldiers will have what they need, and our veterans will have what they earned.
The good news is that it will not be nearly enough. Not against a candidate who captures the attention of the country the way Donald Trump has. Issue by issue, he and I will take our case to the voters. Pointing out the failures of the Obama/Clinton agenda and showing a better way, we will win the hearts and minds of the American people with an agenda for a stronger and more prosperous America.
Now, Washington D.C. thinks it’s only a narrow range of voters who will give Donald Trump a serious look, but I can tell you firsthand, there are a lot of Americans who feel like Democratic politicians taking them for granted. It is union members who don’t want a president who promises to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business. Those miners want an American energy policy, and they know that Donald Trump digs coal.
It is African-Americans who remember generations of hollow promises about safe streets and better schools, and they know Donald Trump will fight for equal opportunity, and he loves educational choice. It is Hispanic Americans who respect the law, who want jobs and opportunities for their families, who know that Donald Trump will uphold the law and get this economy moving for every American.
You know, the party of Lincoln was founded on equality and opportunity. During these difficult days, it will be our party in our agenda opens the doors for every American to succeed and prosper in this land. In so many ways, the Democratic Party has abandoned those and used to protect. Maybe they’ve become too entrenched in power. So comfortable at times but they lose patience with the normal legislative process. It’s so much simpler to impose their values by executive order or court action, and make no mistake about it: Hillary Clinton has big ideas along those lines.
As this election approaches, every American should know that while we are filling the presidency for the next four years, this election will define the Supreme Court for the next 40. We all had better think very, very carefully about what this means for our Constitution and limited government. Elect Hillary Clinton, and you better get used to being subject to unelected judges, using unaccountable power to take unconstitutional actions.
For the sake of the rule of law, for the sake of the sanctity of life, for the sake of our Second Amendment, and for the sake of all our other God-given liberties, we must ensure that the next president appointing justices to the Supreme Court is Donald Trump.
And Hillary Clinton’s record on foreign affairs is even worse. It was Hillary Clinton who helped undo all the games of the troops urge. A staggering failure of judgment that set ice is loose. It was Hillary Clinton who instigated the president’s disastrous agreement with the radical people of their own. It was Hillary Clinton who left Americans in harms way in Benghazi. Then she said, “What difference at this point does it make?”
As the proud father of a United States Marine, let me say for my heart: Anyone who said that, anyone who did that should be disqualified from ever serving as commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the United States of America.
Seven and a half years of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s policies have weekend Americas place in the world. Terrorist attacks at home and abroad, grim and heartbreaking scenes from France just a few weeks ago, and the attempted coup in Turkey all attest to a world spinning apart. History teaches that weakness arouses evil. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama’s foreign-policy of leading from behind, moving red lines, feigning resets with Russia, and the rise, rule, and reign of ISIS are a testament to the truth of history.
We cannot have four more years apologizing to her enemies and abandoning our friends. America needs to be strong for the world to be safe, and on the world stage, Donald Trump will lead from strength.
Donald Trump will rebuild our military and stand with our allies. Donald Trump will confront radical Islamic terrorism at its source and destroy the enemy of our freedom. If the world does nothing else, it will notice: America stands with Israel.
If you looked at the calendar this morning, you may have noticed, the presidency of Barack Obama ends exactly six months from today. This much is certain of the Obama years: They are not ending well. There seem to be so many things that divide us, so few great purposes that Unitas as they once did. It is at moments like this, moments when politics fail, but I believe we do well to remember what unites us far exceeds anything that sets us apart in America. That we are, as we have always been, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Should I have the awesome privilege to serve as your vice president, I promise to keep faith with that conviction, to pray daily for a wise and discerning heart, for who is able to govern this great people without it?
My fellow Americans, I believe we have come to another rendezvous with destiny and I have faith, faith in the boundless capacities of the American people, and faith that God can still heal our land.
But we have a choice to make. This is another time for choosing. If you want a president who will protect this nation, confront radical Islamic terrorism, and rid the world of ISIS; if you want a president who will restore law and order to this country and give law enforcement the support and resources they deserve; if you want a president who will cut taxes grow our economy and squeeze every nickel out of the federal bureaucracy; if you want a president who will build strong borders and enforce our laws, and if you want a president who will upend the status quo in Washington D.C. and appoint justices to the Supreme Court who will uphold the Constitution; we have but one choice and that man is ready, this team is ready, our party is ready, and when we elect Donald Trump the 45th President of the United States, together we will make America great again.
Now let’s go get this done!
Thank you and God bless you and God bless the United States of America.