Featured photo: Mike Pence speaking at a rally in Greensboro, NC on Oct. 27, 2020 (photo by Todd Turner)

With just a week until the election, Vice President Mike Pence spoke to voters during a rally at Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro on Tuesday, citing the need for a Trump re-election to maintain conservative values and boost the economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“In this election I think it’s not going to be so much whether Americans are more Republican or more Democrat, more liberal or more conservative, more red or more blue,” Pence said to the crowd of approximately 300 people. “I think the choice in this election is whether America remains America.”

Over the course of the event at the Piedmont International Airport, Pence was joined by Rep. Mark Walker, who is not up for reelection this cycle, Congressman Ted Budd, who is seeking reelection in the 13th district, and Senator Thom Tillis, who is up for reelection. As they spoke, the Republicans alluded to what they perceived to be “American.”

They railed against so-called socialist policies such as the Affordable Care Act, the Green New Deal and defunding the police while expressing support for increased funding for the military as well as support for law enforcement. They spoke about the need to reopen states and admonished Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper for his handling of the coronavirus. Pence pointed to Democratic politicians like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, who he said threaten conservative values and sway politicians like Biden more to the left.

More than once, Pence and others mentioned the Republican-controlled Senate’s confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

“We are battling against spiritual warfare,” Walker said during his remarks. “This is beyond Republicans and Democrats; we can do this…. We must send a message to Joe Biden, AOC and everybody else who wants to try to implement these radical socialistic policies on America. We will not have it; we will not stand for it and we will do everything we can to fight against it.”

In addition to urging voter to re-elect Trump, Pence promoted Tillis, who faces Cal Cunningham for his Senate seat, and Dan Forest, who is running against incumbent Gov. Cooper.

“As Joe Biden is talking about shutting down our economy, we’re opening up America again,” Pence said. “We’re going to open up school again.”

Pence said the administration would have a safe, effective vaccine by the end of the year and argued that reelecting Trump is the only way to ensure an economic recovery. Recently, five of Pence’s aides, including his bodyman and chief of staff, tested positive for coronavirus. So far, Pence has tested negative but all of his close staffers at the event wore N-95 masks.

“Joe Biden would be nothing short of a Trojan horse for the radical left,” Pence stated. “Now, Joe Biden said that democracy is on the ballot. Well I think our economic recovery is on the ballot. I think law and order are on the ballot.”

Nodding along in the crowd were Clarence and Robin Henderson, a Black couple from Greensboro. Clarence Henderson is an ambassador to Black voters in North Carolina for the Trump campaign and they both said they supported Trump in 2016 and plan to vote for him again this election.

“He’s a president for the people,” Clarence said. “Look at what he’s done for the Black community.” He cited prison reform, increased funding for HBCUs and increase in school choice as gains for the Black community. When asked about comments about the Proud Boys that Trump made a few weeks ago, Clarence stated that he follows what Trump does, rather than what Trump says.

“He doesn’t have racist policies,” he said.

While immigration didn’t figure into the vice president’s speech, Clarence deflected attention away from kids being separated from their parents at the border and echoed the Trump’s rhetoric that many coming in were “coyotes.”

In the end, he said that he trusts Trump to steer the country away from socialism and keep it within the capitalist system that exists today.

“We’re at a major crossroads,” he said.

Towards the end of his speech, Pence recounted how the polls looked to be in Hillary Clinton’s favor in the 2016 election, but how Trump eventually ended up winning. Current national polls according to FiveThirtyEight show Biden with a steady lead against President Trump leading into the election. In North Carolina, the margins are closer with Biden leading Trump by about two percentage points.

“All the polls said we weren’t going to win,” Pence said. “But I just knew in my heart of hearts that there was a victory because I saw the look on people’s faces.”

Pence urged voters to talk to their friends and family to ensure another four more years of a Trump administration.

“And I’m here because I’m gonna be your vice president for four more years,” he said.

To view a gallery of images from the rally, go here.

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