Vice President calls Biden “Trojan horse for a radical agenda”

Ripon is a symbolic place for the VP's speech. The city is known as “the birthplace of the Republican Party.”
Published: Jul. 17, 2020 at 9:25 AM CDT|Updated: Jul. 17, 2020 at 7:06 PM CDT
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RIPON, Wis. (WBAY) - “Joe Biden would set America on a path of socialism and decline,” said Vice President Mike Pence during a campaign speech in the symbolic “birthplace of the Republican Party.”

VP Mike Pence delivers speech in Ripon

FIRST ALERT: Vice President Mike Pence is campaigning for President Trump in Ripon.

Posted by WBAY TV-2 on Friday, July 17, 2020

Pence spoke for about 30 minutes at Ripon College Thursday afternoon, giving a campaign speech he said was meant to highlight the threat of socialism and other issues likely to be debated as we head toward the November election. He laid out stark contrasts between President Donald Trump and Biden, the former vice president.

Pence ripped Democratic nominee Joe Biden for teaming up with former rival Sen. Bernie Sanders for a joint task force on fighting climate change. Pence called Biden a ”Trojan horse for a radical agenda.”

“Our road leads to greater freedom and opportunity. Their road leads to socialism and decline,” Pence said. “Many of our citizens have come from corners of the world ruled by socialist regimes. If you ever doubt whether this country is special and unique, just talk to one of them.”

Vice President Pence says he spoke here in Ripon because it is considered by many to be the birthplace of the Republican Party, but also because Wisconsin is a key battleground state that is critical to President Trump’s re-election bid.

The event included just a small number of supporters to allow for social distancing. The vice president did not wear a mask but everybody in the audience was required to do so.

Pence only briefly touched on the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 136,000 people in the United States. On July 16, the United States confirmed 72,045 new cases of the virus. The seven-day average of new cases is 64,154. CLICK HERE for nationwide coronavirus numbers from the CDC.

“It was an extraordinary three years of progress and renewal. Rebuilding our military and reviving our economy. And then the coronavirus pandemic struck our nation. President Trump took unprecedented action. He put the health and safety of America first from the very earliest days. Before the month of January was over, the president suspended all travel from China, set up the White House coronavirus task force. In fact since the days that followed, we not only developed a whole of government approach but a whole of America approach,” said Pence.

Pence did not outline the administration’s current plan on fighting the pandemic and growing outbreaks. An ABC News/Washington Post poll shows 64 percent disprove of how the president is handling the pandemic.

Pence said the economy is coming back again thanks to the president and his policies.

“At the height of the pandemic, our economy had lost 22 million jobs, but because of that strong foundation President Trump laid of less taxes, less regulation, in two short months, May and June, saw record breaking job creation. We’ve already added 7 million jobs back to the American economy and we’re just getting started.”

The VP also spoke about the racial tension in the country right now that followed the death of George Floyd in police custody, but Pence says the Trump administration will not support any effort to defund the police, which the VP says would jeopardize people’s safety.

“He was asked if he would support cutting funding to law enforcement and he replied, and I quote, ‘Yes, absolutely.' Joe Biden would weaken the thin blue line that separates order from chaos. Under President Donald Trump we will stand with those who stand on the thin blue line, and we will never defund the police. We will defend the police every day. The President and the administration will back the blue.”

During the speech, Pence also hit on traditional Trump Campaign talking points of tax cuts, rollbacks on regulations, border security and opposing abortion.

Air Force Two landed at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh Friday morning (see related story). He was greeted by Republican Congressman Glenn Grothman.

Air Force Two arrives in Oshkosh

FIRST ALERT: Air Force Two and Vice President Mike Pence arrive at Wittman Regional Airport ahead of Ripon speech.

Posted by WBAY TV-2 on Friday, July 17, 2020

This was one of a handful of trips to Wisconsin the vice president has made since the beginning of the year. It’s a signal that the state is clearly in play this summer.

Democrats have criticized the Trump administration for making campaign stops that focus on politics over the coronavirus.

Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes said, “These campaign stops, these stops during election time aren’t helping people who are out of work. They’re not helping people struggling to pay the bills and struggling to pay rent, and they are certainly not helping people combat COVID-19.”

The Biden campaign said the Trump administration has provided an “historic failure of leadership.” The campaign released this statement:

“As we continue to confront the coronavirus pandemic, unemployment is at its highest level since the Great Depression, hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites are out of work, and Donald Trump’s horrible economic policies have harmed Wisconsin at every turn. From farmers who have been forced to file for bankruptcy during the pandemic to union workers in the Fox Valley, people across the state have been left in the dust by an administration that has only rewarded the wealthy and well connected.

“Now, the Trump campaign is once again sending Vice President Mike Pence to the Badger State to do damage control for this administration’s historic failure of leadership. As VP Pence attempts to gloss over the Trump administration’s bungled response to the pandemic, the choice for Wisconsin voters could not be more clear. Instead of propping up the wealthy and powerful, Joe Biden will ensure we reopen safely, get relief to those in need, and help us Build Back Better by creating millions of good-paying jobs and supporting working families across the Badger State.”

Deputy Campaign Manager and Communications Director Kate Bedingfield

“These campaign stops, these stops during election time aren’t helping people who are out of work,” says Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes (D). “They’re not helping people struggling to pay the bills and struggling to pay rent, and they are certainly not helping people combat COVID-19.” CLICK HERE for more of our conversation with Barnes.

From Ripon, the vice president will travel to Onalaska to discuss the trade deal between the United States, Mexico and Canada.

Ripon College says there was “intense discussion” on the campus about the vice president’s visit.

“Colleges are places where good and bad ideas are aired. Ripon prides itself on different political points of view. The VPOTUS’ visit has already provoked intense discussions that will last for months,” the college wrote on Twitter. “The College hears the disapproval and disappointment expressed by some. Your voices are heard. Voices of support have also been heard.”

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