WASHINGTON – President Trump will be the first to recognize that having Mike Pence as vice president is as reassuring as it gets. He's a calm force and a man who knows how Washington works. But evangelicals are just as happy to have Pence in the number two slot. After all, he's one of them and has been instrumental in making sure they have a seat at the table and a major voice inside the White House.
"I think President Trump has a heart of gratitude for evangelical Christians in this country," the vice president tells CBN's David Brody. "I have to tell you, the sweetest words the president and I ever hear, and we hear them a lot, are when people grab us by the hand and say, 'We're praying for you.'"
"I've been with this president in the Oval Office, with religious leaders, when people have asked to pause for a moment of prayer and the president readily embraces that. I think he' always very humbled and grateful by the support of believers. But, let me be clear: President Trump is a believer and so am I. And we understand the role of faith in the life of this nation, and the American people I think can be encouraged to know that in President Donald Trump, they have a leader who embraces and respects and appreciates the role of faith and the importance of religion in the lives of our families in communities in our nation and he always will."
Stretching their Faith
Both Pence and Trump have sure had their faith tested in 2017. Whether it was a swing and a miss with congressional Republicans on repealing and replacing Obamacare or a special counsel investigating whether there was collusion between Russia and team Trump during the presidential election, it's been busy to say the least.
Pence gave us his take on the year in review. "I think the high point for me has been to serve as vice president to a president who's focus is so much on the safety and security of the American people," Pence told CBN News. "President Trump has already signed the largest increase in military spending in a decade and before the end of this year we believe we'll make the largest investment in our national defense since the days of Ronald Reagan."
"With that renewed commitment, our armed forces are making extraordinary progress in the fight against radical Islamic terrorism. ISIS is on the run; literally the American armed forces and our allies have overtaken what just a few short years ago ISIS declared to be their capital of their so called new caliphate in Raqqa."
"To see the way this president has provided leadership as our commander in chief, his strong and swift decision to use American military power to respond to the use of chemical weapons against innocent civilians in Syria, I think it's sent a message to the world that America is back, that America has in a very real sense under President Trump, we've restored the credibility of American leadership. As I've traveled around the world, I've heard it again and again that leaders, whether when I traveled in Europe or the Asia Pacific or in South America, are grateful to see a president, to see an administration that's embracing our role as leader of the free world and providing our military with the focus on the mission of defeating ISIS and for me, that progress is the proudest accomplishment of this administration during the year 2017."
Most Challenging Moment?
But what about the most challenging moment of the year? "Well, obviously the extraordinary impact of the hurricane season on Florida and Texas and Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands and then the tragedies that we've seen in mass shootings in Las Vegas and in that small town in Texas. I know that it has been a real burden on the heart of our president and our family, but I must tell you that in the same breath, I would say, David, how proud we are of our first responders in the wake of those hurricanes. How proud we are of the job that FEMA has done at every level, to come alongside families in those moments and to help families rebuild, and President Trump has brought that optimism and that determination to tell people, we're with you today, we'll be with you tomorrow and as we're proving everyday that we're going to be with these communities everyday as they rebuild but those are the events that are heavy on the heart of those of us that have the privilege to serve."
So what's in store for 2018? The economy is humming along but Pence's outlook gets rosier from there. It's part of his package of New Year's resolutions.
"When this tax cut makes its way to the president's desk, we believe we'll have laid a foundation by rolling back red tape, by appointing strong conservatives to our courts at every level, including justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. That, combined with tax relief, we believe is going to lay a foundation for sustained economic growth, the likes of which we've begun to see in this country already.
What President Trump wants to do with that in the next year is to follow on with that, to rebuild America through an infrastructure plan, to reform welfare, to move people even more from welfare to work in a growing economy, to confront the opioid crisis that is besetting so many American families. There's great, great work to do and I know that when we roll our sleeves up on January first and go to work in 2018, the president will stay just as focused on the mission that he was elected to advance: to make America safe again, to make America prosperous again and, to borrow a phrase, to make America great again."