South Jordan — During a visit to a Utah-based medical device company Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence touted a strong U.S. economy while pushing a new trade deal. He also called on Utahns to support President Donald Trump’s 2020 reelection bid.
Pence addressed a crowd of Merit Medical Systems employees and state officials including Gov. Gary Herbert, Sen. Mitt Romney, Reps. Rob Bishop and Ben McAdams, former Sen. Orrin Hatch and former Rep. Mia Love. He said the economy will continue to improve despite what “naysayers” on the left and in the media say.
He urged Utahns and the state’s elected officials to support the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which is meant to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
The USMCA has been signed by each of the three countries involved, but has yet to be approved by Congress. Some congressional Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have said they have concerns with the deal.
So Pence had a special request for Ben McAdams, Utah’s only congressional Democrat: “Tell Speaker Pelosi to put the USMCA on the floor and tell her that Utah and America need the USMCA this year.”
In a statement released following Pence’s remarks, McAdams said he supports the agreement.
“Trade agreements are an excellent way to promote capitalism and strengthen our economy with good paying jobs,” he said. “Mexico and Canada are two of our largest trading partners, and Utah businesses deserve certainty in their trading relationships.”
McAdams pointed to a letter he and 13 other house Democrats sent to Pelosi last month urging her to bring the trade deal to the floor for a vote.
Since election day 2016, U.S. employers have added 500,000 new manufacturing jobs, including 12,000 in Utah, Pence said. “We didn’t need a magic wand, we just needed President Donald Trump in the White House.”
Pence described Utah as “one of the most dynamic, growing and family-friendly states in America. He used his visit to drum up support for President Trump ahead of 2020, pointing to a booming economy and Trump’s 2016 campaign promises to cut taxes and slash regulations.
“Almost three years later, one thing is clear: President Donald Trump has delivered for the American people,” he said. “The American economy is booming and this president has brought all that about by putting into practice all the things we said we would do.”
While Utah is reliably Republican, Trump won with 45.5% in 2016 and polls consistently show that around half of Utahns disapprove of the president. Still, Pence told reporters after his speech that he believes Utahns will support Trump in 2020 because of the economy and the president’s record.
“In President Trump, you have a leader who’s been rebuilding our military, who’s revived the economy by putting the principles of low taxes, less regulation, more American energy into effect. He’s appointed conservatives to our federal courts at every level,” the Vice President said.
Pence called the Democratic field “the most left-wing, liberal group of candidates that I have ever seen,” and said many of the candidates “openly advocate socialism with ideas like ‘Medicare for All’ and the Green New Deal,” adding that such proposals “would literally crush this economy.”
Pence promised to return to Utah “again and again” before the 2020 election.
Before touring and speaking at Merit Medical Systems, the vice president met briefly with leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to discuss faith and religious freedom.
M. Russell Ballard, acting President of the Church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve and Jack N. Gerard of the Seventy spoke with Pence at the Grand America, where the vice president was staying.
“We were pleased to honor the request of United States Vice President Michael R. Pence to meet with Church leaders during his time in Salt Lake City,” the Church said in a statement.