As a former state think tank leader and member of Congress, Mike Pence became a regular at Heritage Foundation events over the years. His latest visit came on Sept. 17 and felt like a homecoming—both for the vice president and the Heritage leaders who know him well.
“I have to be honest with you, Heritage Foundation will always feel like home,” Pence told the standing-room-only crowd. “The Heritage Foundation is a flagship of freedom. Since its founding in 1973, Heritage has been advancing conservative public policy based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, traditional values, and from its very founding, focused on a strong national defense.”
“Now, for nearly half a century,” he added, “it’s undeniable that The Heritage Foundation has made a difference for America.”
A prolific speaker and effective communicator, Pence returned to Heritage to deliver a speech packed with policy ideas and newsmaking comments.
>>> Watch highlights of Pence’s speech below
In his Constitution Day address, Pence discussed the path forward for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, known as USMCA. But even before he touched on trade, Pence made news for his hard-hitting comments about Iran and support for Justice Brett Kavanaugh. (Read the full transcript of Pence’s remarks or watch the video of his speech.)
Pence’s speech received nearly 100 media mentions from major news outlets. Nearly 40 media outlets attended the speech, including the Associated Press, Bloomberg, CNN, NBC, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.
The audience also included honored guests such as Reps. Ted Budd, R-N.C., and Gary Palmer, R-Ala., Mexico Ambassador Martha Barcena, Acting Canadian Ambassador Kirsten Hillman, Center for Security Policy President Frederick Fleitz, former White House adviser Sebastian Gorka, bestselling author and professor Kiron K. Skinner, and many others.
Heritage Foundation President Kay Coles James expressed her gratitude to Pence for his tireless efforts in the fight to preserve American’s freedom.
“There's an instinctual trust that conservatives have for Vice President Pence that has been built through nearly two decades of working together,” James said. “He has stood shoulder to shoulder with us in the biggest battles. He’s fought in the pro-life trenches, he’s an advocate for religious liberty, a defender of the Second Amendment, and a champion of free markets, individual freedom, and limited government.
“He’s always been someone that we have admired. He’s a truly honorable man and in a city that desperately needs more honorable men. We are delighted to welcome him today.”
Pence used the opportunity to recognize James’ contributions to the conservative movement and betterment of America. He also thanked Heritage founder Ed Feulner and former Attorney General Ed Meese, Heritage’s Ronald Reagan distinguished fellow emeritus.
The vice president concluded his remarks by recognizing Heritage’s role of advancing policy solutions that lead to better lives for all Americans.
“There's so many well-known faces and voices here, I'm actually very honored that you would take time to hear us out,” Pence said. “And to come here to be part of The Heritage Foundation's long tradition of being a platform talking about how we advance the agenda and the principles that have made this country great in the past and are making America great again as we speak.
“I mean, the truth is, Heritage Foundation has been a bulwark. It's been a bulwark of freedom and a leading defender of the Constitution now for almost a half a century.”
Founded in 1973, Heritage is the nation’s most broadly supported public policy research institute, with more than a half-million members.