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Focus on the Family Broadcast

An Update With Vice President Mike Pence

An Update With Vice President Mike Pence

Vice President Mike Pence discusses the recent Supreme Court vacancy and nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, the violence occurring in American cities, and the latest information about COVID-19.
Original Air Date: October 2, 2020

John Fuller: Welcome to a special episode of Focus on the Family with your host Focus president and author, Jim Daly. And I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, we’re honored to welcome Vice President Mike Pence on the broadcast today. Our goal is to focus the discussion on some of the major issues facing our culture right now. And, uh, it’s been a tough 2020.

John: Yeah.

Jim: I mean, we’ve had a lot coming at us. It’s such a privilege and an honor to talk to the Vice President. It’s also important to note that we have extended an invitation to Senator Kamala Harris to join us on the broadcast to hear her viewpoints on these same issues, but so far, we haven’t received a response. So, we’ll continue to be hopeful for that. Mr. Vice President, it is great to have you with us today on Focus on the Family.

Vice President Mike Pence: Oh, it’s great – great to be back on Focus on the Family, Jim and, uh, thanks for having me.

Jim: Hey, I know your time is limited. I want to get right to it. You have Judge Barrett, who was just nominated by the President for the Supreme Court vacancy. She’s a wife, a mother of seven. And it seems like there are people in the country that really dislike that. How do you feel about that kind of opposition to such a qualified lady?

Vice President Pence: President Trump and I couldn’t, uh, be more enthusiastic about Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who, um, the President appointed to the Court of Appeals just a few short years ago. She is not only brilliant, um, but has an inspiring personal story, an amazing family. And, um, we know she’s going to make an extraordinary justice on the Supreme Court of the United States. I mean, Jim, in Judge Amy Coney Barrett the American people have a jurist who will uphold the Constitution of the United States, will not legislate from the bench. She really is, um – she has a judicial philosophy very much in the mold of one of – of the man that she clerked for and was highly regarded by the late Justice Antonin Scalia. And so, President Trump (unintelligible) to support her nomination. She’s on Capitol Hill meeting with members of, uh, the United States Senate. We are hopeful that Republicans and maybe even some Democrats will see their way clear to recognize the extraordinary character, intellect and quality of Amy Coney Barrett.

Jim: Well, Mr. Vice President, I so appreciate that approach. And I agree with you. I hope there are some Democrats that will support such a well qualified person. But at the same time, I’m grateful that you put your faith first and your family second, and, of course, your vocation in politics third. But let me appeal to that. Some of us, as we listen to the vitriol time and again – I mean, this isn’t the first time. But the amount of vitriol going at such a good person. How – how do you – how do you manage that? And what would you say as a – as a Christian? What would you say to us who are offended by this? It kind of gets under my skin that they treat her so harshly.

Vice President Pence: Well, and she got the same treatment when she went through the confirmation process, through the Court of Appeals a few short years ago. You might remember…

Jim: Oh, yeah.

Vice President Pence: …The Democratic Chairman of the Judiciary Committee referred to her Catholic faith as being a, uh, quote, “dogma that lives loudly within her” and expressed concern about that. But it – and it’s that kind of intolerance toward Americans of religious faith that really, I think, offends tens of millions of Americans. I know your listeners all across the country share that. And, um, we’re just going to take a very strong stand, as President Trump has throughout this administration, not only for the appointment of strong, principled conservatives to our federal courts, but we’re going to continue to stand strong for religious liberty. The reality is in the – the last administration actually brought the Little Sisters of the Poor into the federal courts to force them to compromise their faith, to live under the mandates of Obamacare. And Joe Biden has pledged, even though the Supreme Court upheld the end of the assault on the Little Sisters of the Poor – Joe Biden has pledged to reimpose those mandates. And Joe Biden’s running mate has actually attacked one of our judicial nominees a few short years ago because they were a member of a pro-life, pro-family Catholics Knights of Columbus.

Jim: Hmm.

Vice President Pence: So, we’re going to stand strong. And I think any American within the sound of my voice, I ought to want to do two things in the days ahead. If they cherish our Constitution, if they – if they admire the principled judicial philosophy and the integrity and character of judge Amy Coney Barrett, I encourage people to pray for Judge Barrett, for her nomination. I also encourage people to call your Senators and let them know, Republican or Democrat, that you want to see them support this incredible woman as the next justice on the Supreme Court. And I – and I will tell you, three Democrats voted for her nomination just two short years ago when she was appointed to the Court of Appeals. So, we remain hopeful, although we understand we’re in an election season and we understand that the tone and tenor of the political debate. We remain hopeful that, uh – that quite soon you will see a strong vote in the United States Senate where Judge Amy Coney Barrett will become Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

Jim: Well, that’s good news. And I feel my blood pressure already coming down because of your calmness. Let me move to another big issue in the culture right now, Mr. Vice President. That’s the violence that we’re seeing in Portland, Chicago, other cities. Um, I was watching Tucker Carlson a couple of months ago, and he made a statement that really caught my attention, given the fact that here at Focus on the Family, we’re working on keeping marriages together, helping dads be better dads, moms to be the best moms they can be. And he said, “The country is kind of coming down to two types of people, those who love their fathers and those who hate their fathers.” And it caught my attention and I thought to myself, is the headwaters of so much of this unrest yet again, the breakdown of the family? And I am concluding that, that is true. That’s where we learn how to treat others and how to live in society together, how to tolerate one another. So, much of that is taught in the family. And there is such great family breakdown right now that my conclusion is that we have got to do more to strengthen family. How do you feel about it?

Vice President Pence: Jim, I couldn’t agree with you more. And I assure you, President Donald Trump feels just the same way, that we’ve got to be there for families in inner cities and in small towns around America. But when you think about the challenges facing families who have to endure violence and crime in our major cities, there’s two things that we need to do, and it’s what we’ve been doing the last three and a half years. Number one, we’ve got to stand with the men and women in law enforcement.

Jim: Yes.

Vice President Pence: And you literally have, uh – you have people that are talking about defunding the police or reimagining law enforcement. You had, uh, the Los Angeles mayor who recently cut 150 million out of the police department. And President Trump and I believe that that we need to stand with the men and women who serve on the thin blue line every day. We need to pray for them. But we also need to provide them with the resources, um, to be able to do their very difficult job. But in the same breath, let me also say to you, we reject the notion that we have to choose between supporting law enforcement and supporting our African-American families and neighbors and other minorities in our major cities. We have done both for the last three and a half years. And we’ll do both, given the opportunity for four more years.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Vice President Pence: And under President Donald Trump with – with our economic policies, we saw the lowest unemployment ever recorded for African-Americans. We – we saw historically black colleges and universities receive permanent funding at the highest level ever. We saw 8,000 opportunity zones attracting investment, creating jobs in our inner cities. And President Trump and I have fought for the right of inner city families to be able to choose where their children go to school. And I truly do believe that expanding educational choice, expanding economic opportunities and standing strong to strengthen families for in our African-American community, paired with a strong support for law enforcement, is the pathway toward more public safety and more opportunity and improving the well-being of all the people that live in our cities.

Jim: Boy, I deeply, deeply appreciate that. I know on the school choice issue, people do not understand that when these politicians do not allow parents to pick the best schools for their kids, they’re basically condemning these children to a life of poverty. It’s – this is not pro minority children. And, uh, I’m so grateful that you have stood for that. Let me ask you, too, now about the Covid…

Vice President Pence: Yeah, we’ve really – we’ve really stood strong and I have a (unintelligible). It really is remarkable for me to think that Joe Biden and his running mate oppose giving, um, families, including minority families, the ability to choose where their children go to school. Joe Biden is actually called for closing charter schools across America. And I would say, you know, after your eloquent comments, Jim, right after strengthening families, giving parents in our cities the ability to choose the best public, private, charter, Christian, parochial school that will best serve their children is the most important thing that we can do. The pathway toward a stronger, brighter future for our kids is a strong education. The reality is that many of many of the families in our inner cities, many of minority children, including black children in America, are relegated to some of our most dangerous and failing schools. President Trump and I are standing firm to give every parent in America the right to choose where their children go to school, regardless of their income and area code. And we’ll keep fighting for that if given the opportunity for four more years.

Jim: No, I appreciate that and I think that is a secret to getting up and out of poverty. Let me ask you about Covid-19, obviously.

Vice President Pence: Mmm. Mmm.

Jim: First of all, let me say something you may not hear a lot. Thank you for your leadership on the task force. And when I look at it, the response of the government broadly, I feel like you have all done such a good job. When I look at the original numbers coming out of the CDC – of course, Dr. Francis Collins is a good friend from the National Institute of Health. I spoke with him a couple of times during this whole ordeal and, uh, they were projecting 2 million deaths and we have been able to contain that to 200,000. And that’s horrible. But, man, I – I want you to hear thank you for doing all you can do to help us as a nation to get through this time.

Vice President Pence: Jim, it’s been my privilege to be a small part of our national response to the coronavirus. And – and let me say, you’re exactly right that what Dr. Francis Collins told you. When – when we went to the American people after the President closed down all the travel from China, we launched the greatest national mobilization to create testing and personal protective equipment and supplies for our doctors and nurses and families – when we went to the American people and asked for what would become 45 days to slow the spread, our very best scientists told us that if we didn’t take that action, we could lose 2.2 million American lives. But because the American people were willing to put the health of others first; they were willing to do the hard things; our doctors and nurses and first responders were willing to come alongside people to provide level of care that any family would want that; that because our essential workers were able to keep food on the table and keep the lights on to keep critical and essential infrastructure rolling, we’ve lost considerably less than that. Now, I will say we – we do mourn with those who mourn and grieve with those who grieve and our hearts go out to anyone in the sound of my voice that lost a loved one to the coronavirus. But I think because of what the American people have done; because of what our incredible health care workers have done; because of the partnership that President Trump forged with state and local health authorities and – and because of our national response that we – we’ve saved countless American lives. And I believe we are on track to have first coronavirus vaccine and millions of doses before the end of the year. And as I said, it’s been a – it’s been a great privilege for me to be some small part of it and I thank you for your kindness, Jim.

Jim: No, I so appreciate it. And in that same regard, um, and I know this may be a difficult question for you to answer, but it feels – I’m just the guy on the street. But when we’re talking about things, it certainly looks like this has been highly politicized. When you have the L.A. health commissioner saying that they’re going to open schools up the day after the election. It just smacks of the politicization of a health crisis. And it’s unfortunate.

Vice President Pence: Well, I’ve tried throughout this to, uh, not speculate on people’s motives, but, um, you know, the reality is that, frankly, the President’s leadership has been praised, described as phenomenal by governors from New York to California all along the way. And as I said, we, um – there’s never been a day gone by that I haven’t thought about families that have lost their loved ones.

Jim: Yeah, of course.

Vice President Pence: But I’m absolutely convinced that what we have done as a nation, um, has slowed the spread. We’ll continue to protect the vulnerable until we come to that day when we have a vaccine to put this in the past. But the really good news, Jim, is we are opening up America again. We’re opening up America’s schools. I’m proud to say that – that my wife, Karen, who teaches at a Christian school near Washington, D.C., is already back in the classroom teaching art. And we have millions of kids that are already back in the classroom. And we’re going to continue to work with state and local authorities to get the kids back to school. So, many are back on college and university campuses and our economy is roaring back. 10.6 million jobs added back to the economy in just four months. We believe the best is yet to come for the American people.

Jim: Yeah.

Vice President Pence: The new vaccine, more growth in our economy. Uh, and 2021 could be one of the greatest years in the history of our country.

Jim: Boy, it’s well said. Let me end with this last question and something to – it’s close to both of our hearts. I know you and I know that you care about the pro-life position. And even in this context…

Vice President Pence: Mmm.

Jim: …When you look at 200,000 lives lost, regrettably – we get that and we mourn that, as you have so wonderfully said. And now we look at the numbers of babies lost, over 60 million children lost to abortion. That should have weight as well within the culture about that situation. I am grateful that you have been such a stalwart within the pro-life community. You have in so many ways been a strong believer in the life movement. And, of course, President Trump has been there and I’d say the most pro-life administration we’ve seen since Roe v. Wade. And again, I want to say thank you for that. How do you see that battle now? Are we winning that? Are we moving in the right direction? Is the culture beginning to understand through technology and science that this is a baby?

Vice President Pence: Jim, life is winning in America because of the care and compassion of volunteers at crisis pregnancy centers like those that I’ve had the privilege to visit recently around the country. Life is winning because of the men and women in government at every level that have been willing to stand for the sanctity of life. And life is winning because we do have the most pro-life President in American history in President Donald Trump. This is a President who reinstituted the Mexico City policy four days into our administration to prevent taxpayer dollars from being used to provide or promote abortion around the world. January of this year, he actually went to the National Mall and addressed the March for Life on that – that sad anniversary of Roe v. Wade. And all along the way, the President has taken – taken steps to stand with the unborn and to, um – and to stand firm for pro-life Americans. But by contrast, people deserve to know Joe Biden and his running mate support taxpayer funding of abortion all the way up to the moment of birth. They – they’re calling for record increases in funding for Planned Parenthood of America, where President Donald Trump actually signed a bill that allowed every state in America to defund Planned Parenthood. So, the choice could not be more clear in this election when it comes to the sanctity of human life. And with four more years of President Donald Trump in the White House, I promise you we will continue to stand without apology for the sanctity of life and the right to life in America.

Jim: Well, Mr. Vice President, you’ve been gracious with your time. We’re grateful for that position on the pro-life plank. And thank you for how you so wonderfully articulate that – that position for the pro-life community. God bless you. Know that millions are praying for you. I know the Focus listeners pray for you every day. So, God bless you. And we’ll see you soon.

Vice President Pence: Jim, I want to thank you for the time to be on Focus on the Family. But let me also say to your millions of listeners that I know the President, the first family, Karen and myself and our family – we are grateful for those prayers every single day. And – and just God bless you in this great ministry.

Jim: Thank you so much. Bye now.

Vice President Pence: Bye bye.

Jim: That commitment we just talked about to life – just last Saturday we did something for the first time here at Focus on the Family and that was to do a pro-life documentary. If you missed it, it’s called See Life 2020. And you can go to our website and see the one hour presentation. I think it’s the best pro-life documentary that’s ever been done. And it’s worth one hour of your time if you haven’t seen it. And we’re going to take just a few moments here to play some of what we presented. And I, again, would encourage you to go to the website and see the full presentation.

John: Yeah. I’ve watched it a couple of times now and it really is wonderful and features some great speakers like Candace Owens, Alveda King, Christina Bennett and so many more. Here now is about a five minute piece from See Life 2020.

Alveda King: I lived in a home that was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama, because of racism. And I marched and went to jail for civil rights. I was energetic, hopeful, positive. Even in the face, though, of all we were facing – guns, dogs, bombs, billy clubs. Martin Luther King Junior in his last Christmas sermon before he was assassinated, said, “That we must learn to value the human personality, then we won’t kill anybody.” So, civil rights actually begin in the womb.

You know what? A woman has the right to choose what she does with her body, but that baby is not her body. Where is the lawyer for the baby?

Benjamin Watson: Our battle in this nation has been about defining who is worthy of personhood? Because, yet, in every time there were those willing to stand and raise their voices. For them, the road was desolate and dangerous at times, but the mission was worth the risk because the life-affirming, life-giving reward that they pursued was going to change generations. Now, today, we are standing as one of those people during the greatest civil rights crisis of our time.

Lila Rose: This is a pivotal moment. If we have another Supreme Court justice appointed who recognizes that Roe v. Wade is bad law, it could change every. I think we’re going to see an end to legalized and culturally accepted abortion in my lifetime. I’m excited to be alive and to be part of it.

Candace Owens: So, for the black community, if you look across inner cities today, many inner cities, there are more black babies that are aborted than born alive. Um, if it wasn’t for the abortion industry and – and the founder of the abortion industry, Margaret Sanger, and her history of eugenics – actually believing that people of color were not equipped. She didn’t want them breeding because there were too – there would have been too many of them. I mean, this is a – a – has since severe racist beginnings.

Journalist: In 1916, Sanger opened the country’s first birth control clinic. As a member of the American Eugenics Society, she advocated improving the genetic composition of humans through controlled reproduction of different races and classes. Many point to a 1923 New York Times interview as proof of Sanger’s racist motives in which she referred to people as “weeds”, saying, “It means the release and cultivation of the better racial elements in our society and the gradual suppression, elimination and eventual extirpation of defective stocks. Those human weeds, which threaten the blooming of the finest flowers of American civilizations.”

Candace: And most black Americans don’t know that because Planned Parenthood has really made a leap into the public education system.

Journalist: Former Planned Parenthood director, Abby Johnson, says those inside the abortion industry are trained to overlook Sanger’s racist views.

Abby Johnson: They give you an answer like, “Well, I mean, yes. Margaret Sanger was – was a racist, but everybody was a racist back then.” You accept it because she is your hero.

Journalist: In 1942, Margaret Sanger’s American Birth Control League became Planned Parenthood, which has moved to fulfill its founder’s goals, helped greatly by the Supreme Court decision in Roe vs. Wade.

Alveda: Under the veil of secrecy and deception, 60 plus million babies have not been born because they were aborted legally since ’73. One-third of that population belonged to the African-American community.

Journalist: A frightening and telling number, given blacks make up only 13% of the U.S. population.

Candace: A hard-hitting truth is that the most unsafe place for a black child is not on the streets. It’s that when they see a police officer. It’s in their mother’s womb. More than half of the black population – the black population would be double today, if it wasn’t for abortion. We’ve lost 18 million black babies since 1973.

Christina Bennett: The pro-life movement of today is primarily it’s a human rights movement, because without the right to life, which is a foundational right, you have no other right. So, think about what Harriet Tubman fought for. Think about what Dr. Martin Luther King fought for. He said, “I have a dream.” And he fought for children. Harriet Tubman fought for the next generation. They fought for freedom. Right now, abortion is the number one cause of death in the black community. Right now, black women are three times more likely to have an abortion than a white women. So, in fighting for life and fighting for the next generation to live and to prosper and to grow, you’re fighting for their dreams. We are in a time of reckoning and we are in a time of looking at the racist history of our country in the past and what we’ve been through and trying to go forward and trying to seek unity and trying to make a better tomorrow. And eliminating abortion is part of that. It’s actually key to that, because when we can erase abortion, then we will have freedom and we will have a greater purpose and a greater promise because we won’t be killing off our legacy. We won’t be killing our sons and daughters. We will be upholding and building the next generation.

Jim: I think the human experience is one of the greatest gifts God gives us – that chance at life. There’s no guarantees it’s going to be smooth sailing the whole way. My life certainly hasn’t been that, but you know what? Having the ability to make your way, having the ability to love that person you’re going to love, hopefully for a lifetime – these are the treasures of life. And then hopefully having children to pass on what it is you believe in for the next generation. And it comes with a lot of strain and testing. But this is life. And I don’t think anyone should take that from another person.

John: And that’s just one powerful example of this incredible documentary we have. See Life 2020. If you haven’t seen that presentation, do stop by our website. It features some great speakers, including Candice Owens, Alveda King, Mike Singletary and more. And, of course, incredible 4-D ultrasounds of pre-born babies in the womb.

Jim: And John, I am so grateful to the speakers that said yes to participate in this. I mean, Mike Singletary, what an amazing life story he has and you’ll hear more about that when you watch See Life 2020. Let me again say we are so grateful to have spoken with the Vice President. We said at the top of the program that we extended an invitation to Senator Kamala Harris as well. We just haven’t heard back from them yet. But I’m hopeful that they, too, will want to discuss these issues. One of the ways you can help stay informed on important issues is to sign up for our Daily Citizen. And you can get more information about that at our website. That just gives you more information about what’s happening in the culture in a timely fashion.

John: We’ll link over to The Daily Citizen and also to the See Life video. Let me mention that if you would, please, consider supporting the ongoing work of Focus on the Family. Jim mentioned it earlier. We’re all about equipping families, keeping families strong, and, of course, championing the value of every life. And your monthly pledge or one-time Gift makes a great deal of difference to us. You can donate, find the links and more all at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Or when you call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. And on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller, inviting you back. As we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.

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