RALEIGH — Former Vice President Mike Pence told North State Journal on Wednesday that he believes the issues Republicans are running on this year aligns with a freedom agenda for the American people.
Pence appeared at the North Carolina Republican Party headquarters in Raleigh for an event billed as a “Fireside Chat” along with NCGOP chairman Michael Whatley and the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, U.S. Rep. Ted Budd. Speaking in a room packed with activists, Pence addressed issues including the economy, education and energy production.
The former Vice President said after returning home to Indiana was disappointed that the Biden-Harris administration put the nation’s economy in a ditch and blamed massive government spending from the American Rescue Plan and the Inflation Reduction Act for creating hardship on families.
He also said that he was a fervent believer in school choice and said “every child has a right to go to a school of their parents’ choice regardless of zip code.”
Speaking exclusively after the event with North State Journal, he said that despite the best efforts of the Biden-Harris administration and their allies in the media to change the subject, this year’s election is about inflation, gas prices, crime, and the crisis at the southern border.
“I’ve never seen people around the country and our movement more united around a set of issues than we are today. And I truly do believe that unity’s going to be reflected here in North Carolina Ted Budd is elected,” Pence said.
“I also think it’s put into play governor’s races around the country that are unexpectedly competitive and it’s going to pave the way for us winning the House and the Senate.
Pence knows Congress as well as anyone, having served for 12 years as a U.S. Representative from Indiana and his four years as VP, of which part of the duty is to serve as President of the Senate. He said that Budd is a leader for conservative values because he is a man of principle.
“When the cameras are on and when the cameras are off, their colleagues see them as men and women of principle. The House of Representatives is almost like a small town. People get to know each other pretty well, pretty quickly. But the people that rise, the people that emerge, the people that have impact, in my experience, are the people who know why they’re there and are willing to stand on principle,” said Pence of Budd.
Budd entered the U.S. House of Representatives in 2017 as Pence returned to Washington, D.C. as Vice President following four years as Indiana’s governor.
Shifting to education, Pence said the American people saw a contrast in visions of leadership between Republican leaders around the country and Democratic leaders. Noting he was in Georgia the day before, he contrasted the reopening policies of red states with North Carolina, noting that Gov. Roy Cooper with full support of Democratic leaders imposed more restrictions and kept schools closed for much longer.
“Our bias was toward freedom and toward returning America to the economic freedom and personal freedom that we all cherish,” said Pence. “The second piece, though, as so many parents saw schools closed unnecessarily in the fall of 2020, I remember coming to North Carolina with (then-Education) Secretary Betsy DeVos and we came to a school here in North Carolina, a private school because the public schools were closed with the express purpose of saying our administration never asked for schools to be closed. It was largely the teachers unions and Democrat governors that kept our kids out of schools.”
As education and specifically the parents’ rights movements that launched in 2021, Pence said it was a “silver lining” that parents across the nation were looking over their kid’s shoulder and started to see what they were being taught.
“The realization that Critical Race Theory, which is nothing other than state-sanctioned racism in our public schools and other left-wing ideologies being advanced in schools around the country created an opportunity for those of us that have supported educational choice throughout our lives and careers to be able to make that case,” said Pence, adding that he strongly supported legislation passed by the state of Arizona creating a universal school choice program.
Tying the movement back to North Carolina’s U.S. Senate race, he said that Budd was going to be an important national voice for the education freedom movement.
Pence also discussed his view of the media and how partisan he believes many in the media have become.
He said the deeper and more profound issue, in his view, is the role of censorship in big tech and in social media.
“I must tell you, I think it was a scandal that social media companies censored a story about Hunter Biden’s laptop in the weeks leading up to the election in 2020. The American people cherish freedom. We believe the public has a right to know. And the very idea that there was collaboration by members in big tech and the social media world to prevent the New York Post reporting on a hundred Biden’s laptop, which a year and a half later would all be verified and acknowledged as authentic is deeply troubling to me,” said Pence.
“So we ran into not only Democrat opposition but their allies in the liberal media, maybe more than any other administration in my lifetime. Yet we still produced an extraordinary record but I think the issue of censorship is even more profound. It’s a combination of things the likes of which we’ve never seen before, but with freedom-loving majorities in the House and the Senate and with a freedom-loving president in a couple of years, we’ll get it all turned around.”