In Iowa, Pence touts Trump as America’s path to safety

September 20, 2016

DUBUQUE, Iowa - Speaking in Dubuque on Monday night, Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence painted the picture of an increasingly dangerous world.

And the Indiana governor told about 200 supporters that his running mate offered the path to safety.

“Donald Trump would put the safety and security of the American people first,” Pence said during a campaign speech at Giese Manufacturing.

Pence specifically cited a trio of recent terror attacks, an apparent reference to explosions in New Jersey and New York City, the latter of which left 29 injured, and a stabbing attack at a Minnesota mall in which 10 people were hurt. Authorities are investigating all three incidents as potential terrorism acts.

Pence argued the threat of terrorism is growing in America, and he said the administration of Democratic President Barack Obama is to blame.

“Seven-and-a-half years of Obama has weakened America’s place in the world and emboldened our enemies,” Pence said. “We are in a fight against an ISIS caliphate that must be confronted. … Trump would hunt down and destroy ISIS.”

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Monday accused Trump of giving “aid and comfort” to Islamic terrorists, declaring his anti-Muslim rhetoric helps groups such as ISIS recruit new fighters. Trump showed no sign of changing and insisted the U.S. should “use whatever lawful methods are available” to get information from the Afghan immigrant arrested in this weekend’s bombings.

In Dubuque, Pence also said a Trump administration would rebuild the military, emphasizing that “part of making America great again is making America safe again.”

America’s threats aren’t limited to terrorism, Pence emphasized.

He said Trump would “restore law and order to cities and towns of this nation,” providing resources and support to law enforcement.

Pence counted immigration among the central threats to American security. He echoed Trump’s longstanding pledge to build a wall and enforce immigration laws.

Marlynn Gunn and Beverly Matthews took a road trip to see Pence speak.

Gunn, of Morton, Ill., and Matthews, of Normal, Ill., drove for about three-and-a-half hours to Monday night’s event.

Gunn said she is firmly in the corner of Trump and Pence, adding she “wants secure borders and wants to be safe.”

She said she doesn’t fit the profile of a typical Trump enthusiast.

“They say educated white women don’t support Trump,” she said. “Well, they didn’t poll me.”

Peosta, Iowa, resident Ken Heitritter also arrived more than an hour before Pence was scheduled to speak. Donning both a hat and T-shirt that read, “Make America Great Again,” he applauded Trump’s efforts to make America “better, faster and stronger.”

Sharon Petsche and her husband, Duane, came from De Witt, Iowa, for the event.

“He’s a very classy guy,” Sharon said of Pence. “He represents the team well.”

Pence is far from the first high-profile politician to take the podium at Giese Manufacturing.

Company Project Manager Matt Giese estimated the business has hosted around a half-dozen political candidates since 2010. A November 2011 appearance by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney also drew about 200 people, he said.

But Giese said it is difficult to compare those campaign events to what is going on in politics today.

“This election is different because (Trump) is not a traditional politician and he is not running a conventional campaign,” said Giese.