VP Pence in the state capital; rips on Joe Biden’s ‘socialist’ health care plans as election looms

By: - October 24, 2020 9:54 pm

Vice President Mike Pence at the Tallahassee International Airport. Credit: Kira Karribean Johnson.

Vice President Mike Pence warned a drenched and crowded audience in Tallahassee Saturday evening that a Joe Biden presidency would threaten health care plans around the country.

Pence, a Republican, criticized former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden for allegedly “socializing” health care with the establishment of the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare because it launched in the Barack Obama administration.

“You all remember the disaster of Obamacare,” Pence said. “America will never be a socialist country.”

Pence appeared thrilled that many supporters in rain gear came out on a wet evening to participate in a rally at the Tallahassee International Airport. The event began at 6:30 p.m. but Pence showed up after 7 p.m. Pence did not wear a face mask, though the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

An announcer repeatedly told people over the microphone to “please wear a mask,” though many attendees were seen in the crowd without face coverings.

And While Pence had a Republican audience, Democrats outnumber the GOP in Leon County and Tallahassee, Florida’s state capital. As of Oct. 6, registration for Democrats was listed as 116,294, while Republicans were at 57,791, and other categories, at 43,369, according to the Leon County Supervisor of Elections.

Gov. Ron DeSantis was not at the Tallahassee airport.

Nevertheless, “I can’t wait to tell him (President Donald Trump) how many people came out in the rain to support our VP,” Pence said.

The speech began when Pence walked out of an airplane, with the crowd cheering him on as he approached the stage to deliver his remarks relating to the slogan “Make America Great Again.”

“The choice (between Biden and Trump) has never been clearer, but the stakes have never been higher,” Pence said.

Pence claimed that manufacturing jobs are thriving in the state and that international trade “is so important to Florida.”

The crowd then cheered him on again, shouting, “USA, USA!”

Trump firmly supports law enforcement officers, Pence said. “All my heroes wear uniforms. Under president Donald Trump we are going to back the blue,” he added.

Pence also spoke about the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, saying Democrats and “their friends in Hollywood” attacked her because of her faith. Barrett is Catholic, as are several justices on the U.S. Supreme Court.

“She’s an amazing jurist,” Pence said, though Democrats have been concerned about Barrett’s lack of responses on issues ranging from abortion rights to the Affordable Care Act.

“So the Senate is going to finish their work on Monday…I’ll make a prediction: Judge Amy Coney Barrett will be Justice Amy Coney Barrett,” Pence said.

U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn, who represents parts of the Panhandle and North Florida, was among the speakers before Pence took the stage, saying the Trump administration is fighting for the U.S. Constitution and “protecting and defending” our law enforcement.

Dunn also urged people to vote early.

“This president has a list of accomplishments that is simply incredible…we still have the best economy in the world,” Dunn said.

Earlier Saturday, Democratic Cabinet member Nikki Fried, who is the state’s Agriculture Commissioner, was critical of Pence’s visit to Florida, saying:

“Florida’s economic crisis has been fueled by the Trump administration’s inability to manage the coronavirus pandemic, and Florida’s workers have paid the price. Vice President Pence, the head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, is once again flouting his own expert’s recommendations to host more potential super spreader rallies in Florida. Pence’s visit is only reminding voters that this administration has no interest or ability to control the pandemic. We deserve better and that’s exactly what we’re going to get if Floridians turn out to cast their ballots for Joe Biden by November 3rd.”

The Palm Beach Post reported that Trump voted in-person Saturday at the Palm Beach County main library, and joked upon leaving that, “I voted for a guy named Trump.”

As a resident of Florida, Trump would have voted on the same issues other residents will face, such as deciding on the six proposed Amendments to the Florida’s Constitution.

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Issac Morgan
Issac Morgan

Issac Morgan is a 2009 graduate of Florida A&M University's School of Journalism, and a proud native of Tallahassee. He has covered city council and community events at the Gadsden County Times, worked as a sports news assistant at the Tallahassee Democrat, a communications specialist for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and as a proofreader at the Florida Law Weekly.