PHILADELPHIA — President Trump was the last line of defense between law-abiding people and a dangerous, left-wing mob intent on toppling statues and ripping the nation apart, according to Vice President Mike Pence.
“When rioters were setting fire to one of the oldest churches in America and defacing our national monuments, Joe Biden sent out a press release. President Trump sent in the National Guard,” Pence said Thursday in an exclusive interview aboard his campaign bus with the Washington Examiner.
“The contrast with Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi is, this is a president who understands our commitment is to uphold the rule of law — law and order,” said Pence, who spoke as he completed a swing through Pennsylvania, a battleground critical to Trump’s reelection prospects.
“Nancy Pelosi said today in a press conference, when she was asked about rioters pulling down a statue in her hometown of Baltimore, something to the effect of: ‘They will do what they will do.’”
The chaotic, unsanctioned tumbling of statues honoring the founders and other individuals integral to establishing the United States has proliferated on Trump’s watch during the nearly seven weeks since George Floyd’s death sparked waves of civil unrest across the country. But Pence said the difference between Trump and presumptive Democratic nominee Biden is that the president is committed to stopping leftist protesters from desecrating America’s heritage and fanning division.
Biden, in league with House Speaker Pelosi of California, would stand idle, Pence charged.
Nevertheless, the vice president appears to disagree with his boss on the issue of removing monuments to the Confederacy and statues canonizing defectors who fought against the Union in the Civil War.
On removing Confederate statues, Pence said the decision should be made locally. He “wouldn’t begrudge any community or any state to determine what people ought to be remembered and memorialized,” he said.
“Tearing down statues is not protest,” Pence emphasized. “Engaging in public debate in your community about what appropriate displays are is the American way.”
By contrast, the president on Twitter has objected to the removal of Confederate statues and symbols.
Trump is warning of a cultural apocalypse and a society that disintegrates. With Biden at the helm, the president claims, lawlessness would reign and liberal activists would be given carte blanche to uproot memorials to prominent historical figures and delegitimize the existence of the U.S.
Trump drove that message during a July 3 speech from the base of Mount Rushmore that was praised on the Right.
Pence, who told a gathering of police officers in Philadelphia on Thursday that Trump would never abandon local law enforcement to the whims of the Democrats, argued that the president’s comments in South Dakota are the most accurate representation of Trump’s philosophy on the matter.
“What I see when I think of American history is a steady march toward a more perfect union. From the founding of the country, we articulated a set of ideals that were not real at the time, but they were aspirational,” the vice president said. “What the president said at Mount Rushmore, was about we are going to celebrate our history as a steady march for the fulfillment of the ideals that Americans cherish.”
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