Pence promotes Trump’s policies, defends ICE
Vice President Mike Pence touted the Trump administration’s accomplishments Monday in Philadelphia while taking aim at recent national protests against the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
“I’ll make you a promise: With President Donald Trump in the White House, and these strong Republican majorities in Congress, we will never abolish ICE,” Pence said to more than 250 people who attended an event at the Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown.
Pence made the comments as part of an appearance at a tax policy series hosted by America First Policies, a conservative-leaning nonprofit, where the vice president also campaigned for Lou Barletta, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate who is facing incumbent Bob Casey, a Democrat, in the November election.
Protests known as Occupy ICE have sprung up in Philadelphia and throughout the nation within the past month in response to the harsh immigration policies of the Trump administration and have called for ICE to be abolished.
An encampment of protesters remained based on the east side of City Hall Monday. The demonstrators were calling for Mayor Jim Kenney to sever the city’s relationship with ICE.
Pence spoke for more than 30 minutes to a crowd of more than 300 GOP supporters about the Trump administration’s policies and accomplishments after a year and a half in office, including the appointment of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, the rollback of government regulations, and the removal next year of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, which required most people to obtain health insurance or face a tax.
“It’s been a year and a half of action; it’s been a year and a half of results; it’s been a year and a half of promises made and promises kept,” Pence said.
In addition, Pence said the president’s tax overhaul would provide the typical family of four in Philadelphia with an extra $2,500 a year and help Pennsylvania businesses to create jobs and compete in a globalized economy.
The event was part of a series focused on the president’s tax cuts, called Tax Cuts to Put America First.
As part of the event, a discussion supporting the tax cuts was held, which included U.S. Reps. Lloyd Smucker, PA-16, and Tom MacArthur, NJ-3; Elaine Parker, president of the Job Creators Network; and Guy Berkebile, president of Guy Chemical.
In comments before speaking at the event, Barletta, a U.S. representative from the state’s 11th District, said his candidacy for the U.S. Senate would be tied to Trump’s policies rather than the president himself, citing the administration’s low unemployment figures and tax cuts, among other things.
“It comes down to the direction the county is going,” Barletta said.
Barletta also brushed off concerns about the effects Trump’s tariffs will have on Pennsylvania businesses. Trump has imposed tariffs on numerous countries, including China and those in the European Union, and those nations have responded by imposing tariffs on U.S. exports.
“The tariffs are all part of negotiations,” Barletta said. “Listen, trade has been fair if you’re the one trading with America; they haven’t been fair to the American people and American workers.”
When asked whether the numerous indictments of Russians that have come out of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election were legitimate, Barletta said, “We’ll see.”
“Obviously they wouldn’t have an indictment if they didn’t feel they had information to warrant it,” he said.
Among the Trump supporters at the event was Donovan Beckford, 60, of Camden, Dela. A retired Air Force veteran, Beckford said his top issue was Trump’s support of the military, which he said has been built back up and “allowed to do its job.”
“I’m a conservative kind of guy, and I like what the president is doing, although fake news is not giving him a lot of credit for what he is doing,” Beckford said. “But the country is moving in the right direction, I believe, we just need to give the president a chance to do what he was elected to do.”
Also attending the event was Patricia Kline, of Gloucester Township, N.J. A professor at Rutgers University, Kline said her top concerns included the economy, jobs and pro-life issues.
“As an African-American, I’m very for African-Americans getting jobs and I see that the unemployment for African-Americans has decreased, ” Kline said.