On an afternoon of record-high temperatures in rural Virginia, Republican speakers brought their own heat against Democrats across the Commonwealth and the country.
Headlined by 2016 Republican vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence, the 2016 Liberty Farm Festival in Paris, gave state and national party members an opportunity to speak about their beliefs and policies – and frequently against the current slate of elected Democrats.
“This is a choice between whether or not we’re going to continue the failed policies that have weakened America’s place in the world, stifled America’s economy, walked us away from the God-given liberties enshrined in our constitution, and the highest standards in public life,” Pence said, “or whether we’re going to plant our feet as Americans, turn around and go back up the hill to more freedom, more individual responsibility, more prosperity and more of the American dream.”
After several hours of partisan speeches, a crowd of several hundred overcame the heat and stayed till the late afternoon to here Pence campaigning on behalf of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Pence received loud cheers consistently through a half-hour long speech.
Pence spoke on familiar campaign topics including national security, foreign policy and economic prosperity. He promised that Donald Trump would hold America’s foreign trade partners accountable and would repeal Barack Obama’s executive orders on his first day of office. He said the Trump administration would boost the U.S. economy by cutting taxes “across the board.”
“We’re going to lower the business taxes in this country so that companies in Virginia can create jobs in Virginia and compete on the world stage to keep jobs and opportunities here,” Pence said.
Pence also spent time criticizing Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, hitting her on her record while secretary of state. The governor addressed Clinton’s comments from Sep. 9 when she said that half of Donald Trump supporters were a “basket of deplorables.”
“Hillary I have news for you,” Pence said. “I’m traveling across this country every day. I’m meeting the men and women who support Donald Trump in big cities and small towns. People who represent the millions of people who support my running mate… Hillary they’re not a basket of anything. They are Americans and they all deserve your support and respect.”
The event also served as a who’s-who for Republican politicians and candidates in the area, many of whom are looking ahead to the Virginia state elections in 2017.
Candidates running for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general all took advantage to speak at the event before a welcoming audience. Opposing Republican candidates for the three major state offices were aligned for most of their speeches, focusing on lower regulations, lower taxes and personal freedoms. Candidates didn’t attack each other, but instead attacked many Democrats.
Like in Pence’s speech, the strongest attacks were spent on Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Most of the nearly two dozen speakers went after Clinton, accusing her at different times of being a liar, narcissist, criminal and conspirator, or a combination of all those traits.
They also lambasted the policies of Obama, former president Clinton and senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Virginia officials including current governor Jim McAuffie, state attorney general Mark Herring senator Mark Warner and senator and current democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine were also frequently targeted.
Additionally, several authors, religious leaders and military veterans spoke at the event. Four members of the House of Representatives also spoke, as well as former elected officials, including Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore.