U.S. Vice President Pence’s Remarks at a Libre Initiative Roundtable

Grand Canyon University

Phoenix, Arizona

11:37 A.M. MST

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you very much, Daniel. We are grateful for the leadership of Libra Initiative. Thank you for all that you’re doing to advance the interest of Hispanic Americans across the country.

And it is an honor to be with you today. I also want to express my appreciation and invite another round of applause. The Grand Canyon University is an incredible success story. He has led this university, grounded in Christian values, to incredible growth. It’s serving a broad and diverse student body here in Phoenix. And join me in thanking Brian Mueller for his great leadership — (applause) — for Grand Canyon University. And thank you so much for your hospitality today, Brian.

Also, I’m pleased to be joined by a member of our Cabinet, the Small Business Administrator, Jovita Carranza, who will speak in just a moment.

But I must tell you, to be seated once again with Governor Doug Ducey is a particular privilege for me. I can honestly say I was for Governor Ducey before it was cool. (Laughter.) I met him when he was just a candidate for office, and I was governor of the state of Indiana. And I saw his leadership then; I saw a businessman who was stepping forward to make a difference.

And to see the growth in this state, to see the growth in your economy, to see his steady leadership over the last eight months in the midst of this coronavirus pandemic — seeing Arizona through a challenging summer all across the Sun Belt — Governor Doug Ducey, I’m grateful for your leadership.

GOVERNOR DUCEY: Thank you very much.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I’m particularly honored to be with you today. Thank you so much. (Applause.)

And let me bring greetings to all of you. This is National Hispanic Heritage Month. And to all as we celebrate the incredible contributions throughout the life of our nation of Hispanic Americans, I want to bring greetings from a great champion of Hispanic Americans who, when I spoke to him this morning on Air Force Two and told him I was headed to Phoenix, he was reflecting fondly on the fact that he was just here a few days ago. So let me bring greetings from the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump. (Applause.)

The President said, on Monday, Hispanic Americans literally embody the American Dream. To be Hispanic American in so many ways is to — is to be a part of a community that is synonymous with faith and family and hard work. And the contributions that Hispanic Americans have made not only to Arizona but to the life of this nation are really countless.

And I’m proud to say that in our first three years in office, we’ve made extraordinary progress in the economy of this nation. Under President Trump’s leadership, with the strong support of our allies in the Congress, we cut taxes, we rolled back regulations, we unleashed American energy, we fought for free and fair trade, secured even a new trade agreement with our neighbors to the south and neighbors to the north in the USMCA, and the results were truly dramatic.

It was 7 million new jobs created in those first three years, including nearly a quarter million good-paying jobs right here in Arizona. But nationwide, during this Hispanic Heritage Month, I know you all would be glad to celebrate with me that among those 7 million new jobs, 3 million went to Hispanic Americans, and more than 1 million Hispanic women entered the workforce all across this country. (Applause.)

Hispanic unemployment was the lowest level ever recorded in those first three years. Median income for Hispanic households reached a record high. 1.5 million Hispanic — Hispanic Americans were lifted out of poverty. And I know, as Jovita will reflect in a few moments, there was a record high amount of homeownership for Hispanic Americans.

In fact, we just got data, earlier this week, Governor, that in 2019 alone, we saw the largest increase in household income in 52 years. (Applause.)

And then, as we all know, the coronavirus pandemic struck our nation from China. President Trump took decisive action early on to put the health of America first. We suspended all travel from China. We declared a public health emergency. We stood up a White House Coronavirus Taskforce that — that I can say has been working with your governor virtually every week as we’ve greatly expanded testing, and Arizona played a critical role in innovating testing for the people of this state. We also saw to the delivery of literally hundreds of millions of — of supplies to doctors and nurses in hospitals across the country.

In the midst of all of that, we’ve been in the process of developing new medicines, like remdesivir, convalescent plasma. And I’m proud to report, at this gathering here in Phoenix, we are well on our way to have the first safe and effective coronavirus vaccine before the end of this year. (Applause.)

But in the midst of that, I know that, here in Arizona, this was a challenging summer through which we just passed. But thanks to the extraordinary cooperation of the people of this state, putting the health of your neighbors and your families first; and frankly, the strong leadership that Governor Ducey and his administration provided, we’ve — you’ve seen incredible progress here, and we want to commend the people of Arizona.

We were proud to partner with your governor to surge testing, particularly to underserved communities. Community-based testing sites here in Phoenix and all across the state gave us the visibility into the spread of the virus — didn’t it, Governor?

And I’m also proud to say that as we were dealing with the health impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, under the President’s leadership, we also created a Paycheck Protection Program that, we believe — we believe, saved more than 50 million jobs, and it provided loans to keep people on the payroll for some 80,000 businesses all across Arizona. And 60,000 Paycheck Protection loans across the United States of America specifically went to Hispanic-owned banks nationwide. (Applause.)

The good news is, through all of which we’ve passed, we’re opening up America again and you’re opening up Arizona again. In the last four months alone — (applause) — in the last four months alone, demonstrating the incredible character and resilience of the American people and the American economy, 10.6 million Americans have gone back to work, including 140,000 people that have gone back to work in the last four months right here in Arizona. (Applause.)

Of the more than 10 million Americans who have gone back to work in the last four months, as Jovita knows well, 3.3 million of those jobs were filled by Hispanic Americans. And Hispanic unemployment has already dropped to 8.4 percent. (Applause.)

So we’re — we’re on our way back, Arizona, and Hispanic Americans are leading the way. Through the challenging days of the pandemic, it was the families in this community who did your part to look after those who, in many cases, we found, were among the most vulnerable. And we want to commend you for that. But also the ingenuity, the hard work, the creativity, the faith of the people of this community is also leading us back to even greater heights.

And as we — as we go forward, I want to promise you, on behalf of your President, that we’re going to continue to support this community. In fact, we just broke the news today that two of the largest infrastructure grants in American history have been awarded to Puerto Rico to help that territory recover. (Applause.)

And we’ll continue to support law enforcement. You know, one of the things the President is most proud of, is the fact that half of our Border Patrol agents across this country are Hispanic Americans who secure our borders and protect our families every single day. And under this President, we’ve supported Customs and Border Protection, and we’ve also made record investments in border security and built more than 300 miles of a border wall on the southern border. (Applause.)

In addition to that, it is remarkable to see the way Mexico has stepped up to partner with us to secure their southern border and ours. Mexico is literally doing more today to secure our southern border than ever before in history, and it’s a partnership that’s seen a record decline in the — the number of people coming across the border illegally. And it’s a tribute, frankly, to those incredible law enforcement personnel and also to our cross-border cooperation.

And it certainly is in stark contrast with the voices of others in the public domain, where Joe Biden and the Democratic Party today call for open borders, sanctuary cities. We’ve made record investments. And I — I want to pledge to you, to your governor, and to Hispanic Americans everywhere that we are going to stand with law enforcement, we’re going to stand for the rule of law, we’re going to secure our borders and uphold the rights of American citizens. (Applause.)

And also, while Joe Biden and the Democratic Party are talking about ending school choice — in fact, ending charter schools — in America, I want people in the Hispanic American community here in Arizona to know that, in President Donald Trump, you have a champion of school choice and a champion of charter schools. (Applause.)

You know, it’s remarkable to think that one third of the students in public charter schools are Hispanic across this country. While some would like to shutter those schools, they’re making an incredible contribution. In fact, here in Arizona, the governor informs us that 40 percent of charter school students are Hispanic and 11 percent of students in American private schools are Hispanic.

So expanding parental choice, expanding public charter school innovation, I promise you, will continue to be a priority for our administration.

So, with that — thank you for that. (Applause.) With that, I — I’m here — I’m here to listen. I’m looking forward to the — to the comments of our guests today, as well as — as your governor.

But let me also just simply close by saying thank you. And during this National Hispanic Heritage Month, just thank you for everything that this community contributes to the life of this nation. It really is — it is — it is humbling to be able to spend time, as I travel across the country, with Hispanic Americans, to hear the incredible stories, testimonies of faith, testimonies of entrepreneurship, testimonies of the American Dream, and — and to see the values and the faith that are so synonymous with this community.

I truly do believe, as we make our way through this challenging time, as we work to bring America all the way back, we’d do well to recognize a National Hispanic Heritage Month — that Hispanic Americans have always made this nation strong and great. And we will lead together to even a greater future for the American people for many years to come.

So thank you for who you are. Thank you for being with us today. And God bless our Hispanic American community. (Applause.)

(The roundtable discussion begins.)

(The roundtable discussion concludes.)

Well, it’s just very humbling to be among so many great Americans. So thank you all for coming today. Thank you for helping us celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month. Thank you for your witness.

Cesar, you can tell Jet that Batman was my favorite too when I was his age. (Laughter.) Probably still is. And I can tell that’s a remarkable young man, but you’re a remarkable dad. Thank you for being such a great witness. (Applause.)

And the President — the President and I, like your governor, really believe that parents ought to be the ones that choose where their kids go to school. (Applause.) I promise you, I’m going to remember for a long time they way that you and your family stepped up for your little one in such unique circumstances. It’s truly inspiring. So I want to thank you for sharing your story.

And to Pastor De La Cruz, the honor is mine. I made the same decision when I was 18 years old: put my faith in Christ and — (applause) — (inaudible). And to hear about your witness of faith and to see the sincerity of your purpose, it really is — it really is inspiring to me. And you’ve given us hope, and I know your governor and this whole team are going to take to heart your words.

There’s that verse in the Bible that says, “Don’t absent yourself from the assembly,” as some are in the habit of doing. And I want you to know, we’re going to work closely with your governor and with states around the country to do everything we can to get our churches, all of our places of worship open back up again so the people of God can come together and pray. (Applause.) So we’ll work toward that day, and I thank you.

But, Daniel, this has really been an inspiring time. I’m going to leave here reflecting on your words that Latinos need the free market, and the free market needs Latinos, and that much is certain. (Applause.)

Thank you for the Libre Initiative. Thank you for your great advocacy of — of the great Hispanic community all across the United States. And that 2.2 million strong, Governor, here in the State of Arizona —

GOVERNOR DUCEY: And growing! (Laughter.)

THE VICE PRESIDENT: And growing, and — just like — just like the great state of Arizona.

But I — I have to tell you that maybe Jeannette’s words — maybe Jeannette’s words are most inspiring to me, and they explain an awful lot. We’ve heard about faith, we’ve heard about family, we’ve heard about caring for those in need, we’ve heard about entrepreneurship, but I really do believe that what Jeanette said is something that I’ve observed in the Hispanic community all of my life, and it’s something I most admire. She said — she said, “Latinos do everything with passion.” (Laughter.)

So I want to thank you for your passion. I want to thank you for your passion for faith, for freedom, for free markets. And I truly do believe that — that with this great Hispanic community and the passion and faith of this community, the best days for Arizona, for this community, and for America are yet to come.

So thank you all very much. (Applause.) God bless you. And happy Hispanic Heritage Month. Thank you all. (Applause.)

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