As Vice President Mike Pence walked into the picturesque library at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington DC, there was quite a bit to ask him. One huge topic: Israel. Specifically, would the president move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem? He promised to do so during the presidential campaign but has held off so far.
Senior White House sources tell CBN News discussions are underway to figure out a way to do it. In the meantime, there are now reports that, initially at least, the president could announce the United States will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city.
David Brody: “Where is this White House in the process of that (moving the embassy) because it’s very important to evangelicals?”
Vice President Pence: “The president and I believe that the relationship between the American people and the people of Israel is one that is timeless. I mean, literally before the founding of this country there were Americans who prayed for and dreamed of Israel returning to its ancient homeland and through the tragedy and tragic events of World War II and the Holocaust and through strong American leadership at the United Nations, Israel was restored to her homeland. As the old book says, ‘in a day, in a moment,’ and I know the president is reflecting on the decision about our embassy and other policies but it’s all informed by his commitment to the relationship between the United States and Israel and his knowledge that the American people cherish our ally Israel and we always will.”
The issue will grow even larger when the Vice President heads to Israel and Egypt later this month, a subject we discussed at length.
David Brody: “Outline the goals for me especially as it relates to persecuted Christians because this has been, quite frankly near and dear to your heart for a very long time.”
Vice President Pence: “If the world knows nothing else, the world should know this: under President Donald Trump, America stands with Israel and we’ll be delivering that strong message. It was seventy years ago that the nation of Israel in a miracle of history came back into existence in its ancient homeland and every day Americans have cherished that accomplishment and we’ll be there to celebrate that. But as we travel the region as well we’ll also reaffirm our commitment to peace in the region. The president has made it clear that we want peace but people should know that President Donald Trump will never compromise the safety and security of the Jewish state of Israel in the midst of that process. I’ll also be traveling to Egypt, where we’ll be talking about the issue of persecuted Christians and religious minorities across the wider Arab world. I couldn’t be prouder of the fact that in the wake of seeing half of the Christian population flee from Syria, 80% of the Christian population has now left Iraq. President Trump made the decision to now begin to funnel U.S. support not through the United Nations in every program but for the first time through USAID to help rebuild Christian communities and the communities of other religious minorities that have for too long been neglected.”
David Brody: “Will that start soon?”
Vice President Pence: “We’re hoping to make announcements during my trip through the region.”
Meanwhile, here at home, the issue of sexual harassment has gripped the nation. It’s something the Vice President hasn’t really discussed at length publicly…until now with CBN News.
David Brody: “So many people want to know what’s the solution? What’s the answer? Where’s the morality in all of this in terms of what can be done? Do you legislate it? Is it a cultural issue? Can you help folks with some answers … a light has been shined on this topic, on this very important issue.”
Vice President Pence: “Well, as Vice President and as the father of two really talented and wonderful young women, I think we’re seeing real progress in our society today. Every American woman is entitled to a safe and productive workplace and my heart goes out to the women who have endured sexual harassment in the workplace and I admire their willingness and their courage in coming forward. But I think it’s initiating a national conversation about practices in our businesses and in our public institutions that will make sure that women and men have the kind of work environment that is safe and respectful to all concerned. I think the president and I both see that as progress.”
David Brody: “You’re not one to take a victory lap – but you got beat up on, they called it the ‘Pence Rule’ and Billy Graham even before that, just this idea of making sure you’re taking the proper steps to not have perception become reality. What is your view of that because you got beat up in the media pretty well for that.”
Vice President Pence: “Well, God’s greatest blessing in my life is my wife Karen. Look, every marriage is different and when we got married thirty-two years ago, we sat down and talked to one another about guidelines and we live those out in our life and they’ve been a blessing to us. I have to tell you, criticism comes with the job and we accept that but I’ve been very moved over the last few months by how many people have stopped me as I’ve traveled around this country and given me a word of encouragement and expressed support for our decision to put our marriage and our family first and I’m always blessed by that. I really am, David.”
As for legislative issues, a big one on the table is tax reform and there is a big question to be answered, namely whether the Trump Administration can achieve a huge political victory before the year is out.
David Brody: Is it (tax reform) going to be in the Christmas stocking stuffer? Is this going to get done by Christmas? What’s the prediction?”
Vice President Pence: “Well, we believe it will. President Trump and I have been working literally around the clock with members of the Senate and before that with members of the House of Representatives and we really believe that before Christmas comes, we’re going to deliver to the American people the largest tax cut in American history and as the president has said, it’s going to be a middle-class miracle. This is tax relief that’s going to benefit working families across this country with real and immediate tax relief. The average American family will have more than $1,200 in their pockets when this passes, but more than that, we’re going to reform our business taxes in this country so that companies large and small can begin to compete with companies around the world again, and that will create jobs and we also know that by reducing taxes on businesses, we’ll see wages rise in this country and so we’re very close. We’re going to continue to work closely with members of the Senate to move legislation this week, then it will be off to what’s called a conference committee to work out the differences but we really do believe that as the president said just yesterday (Wednesday) that the American people are going to get a great Christmas present this year and it’s going to be a big, beautiful tax cut that will benefit their families and benefit this growing American economy.”
David Brody: “Speaking of that economy, what about the concern about the deficit? Jeff Flake, Bob Corker, friends of yours who say, ‘hey wait a minute here, we hope the economy keeps humming’ but is there going to be some sort of trigger mechanism that they want to raise rates if the economy doesn’t continue to hum?”
Vice President Pence: We respect the fact that members of congress want to make sure that five or six years down the road, if unforeseen circumstances cause a downturn in the economy that we make sure and not add a burden of debt to our children and grandchildren, but I think from the president on down, we really do believe that by allowing Americans to keep more of what they earn, allowing businesses to be able to reinvest in ways that will create jobs and opportunities, that we’re not only not going to see deficits from these tax cuts, but when they’re all fully implemented, we think you’re going to see not only incomes rise in this country, our economy grow, but you’re also going to see the federal government have even more resources to provide for our military, to meet the obligations that we’ve made to people through all the various programs and we think this is really all about growth and it’s going to result in a growing economy.”
The second part of our exclusive interview with Vice President Pence airs Monday, December 4th on The 700 Club.