Mike Pence Repeatedly Tells Conservative Students 'Freedom, Not Socialism' Makes America Great

Vice President Mike Pence credited "freedom, not socialism," with being responsible for some of America's greatest achievements.

On Wednesday, students welcomed Pence to the stage at the Young America's Foundation National Conservative Student Conference in Washington, D.C. During his speech, Pence addressed a number of topics, including the upcoming election, President Donald Trump and freedom in America.

Pence also shared his thoughts on the previous night's Democratic presidential debate, crediting the conversation to be one between liberals and socialists, not liberals and moderates. Among the topics covered by those on the debate stage were health care, education and taxes.

Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, both frontrunners for the 2020 election, advocated for universal health care, increasing taxes for people who are wealthy and establishing free options for college.

Although Pence didn't mention any candidate by name, he told attendees of at the conference that it was "remarkable" to see leading democrats back policies associated with socialism. While Sanders openly identifies as a democratic socialist, Warren rejected the label. She instead called herself a "capitalist" who believes markets need rules.

Along with criticizing socialism for impoverishing people and depriving them of liberty, the vice president applauded freedom for being responsible for a number of achievements, including the creation of the "strongest and most prosperous nation in history."

"It was freedom not socialism that ended slavery, won two world wars and stands today as a beacon of hope for all the world," Pence said. "It was freedom, not socialism that's moving us beyond the prejudices of the past to create a more perfect union and extend the blessings of liberty to every American regardless of race or creed or color."

mike pence freedom socialism america great trump
Vice President Mike Pence addresses media and guests at a press conference to address the US Naval Hospital Ship Comfort at the Port of Miami in Miami on June 18. On Wednesday, Pence told conservative students at a conference that freedom, not socialism was responsible for many of America's achievements. RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty

Pence continued, saying that if America were to become a socialist country it would cease to be America and encouraged students to "embrace freedom with renewed energy and vigor."

He pointed to Venezuela and North Korea as proof that socialism does not work and targeted policies debated the previous night. Pence claimed Medicare for all equated to quality for no one and the only "green" part of the Green New Deal would be "how much money it's going to cost us if it's passed into law."

Moving toward the presidential election, Pence claimed the stakes were never higher and that it was vital to "redouble" efforts to support Republican candidates at every level of government. His comment, that it was "time to make sure" Trump was re-elected, was met with applause and "four more years" chants.

"The future of this country depends on what we do over the next 15 months," Pence said. "As President [Ronald] Reagan used to say, 'freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction' and I know you all know that here."

Young America's Foundation was founded in 1969 with the goal of exposing students to conservative ideas and encouraging student activism. The organization has a few notable alumni who were close to Trump, including former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and senior policy advisor Stephen Miller.