Pence met with protests ahead of Stanford speech
PALO ALTO, Calif. - Former Vice President Mike Pence gave a speech to a sold-out crowd at Stanford University Thursday evening. It's the third stop on his 2021-2022 campus tour. But former President Trump's second-in-command was met with protests ahead of the event.
The event, hosted by Stanford College Republicans in conjunction with Young America's Foundation (YAF), is un-ironically titled ‘How to Save America from the Woke Left’. Pence spoke for about an hour, followed by a brief Q&A session with audience members. The event, at Dinkelspiel Auditorium, was free with pre-registered tickets.
Despite the State of California largely doing away with its indoor mask mandate, Palo Alto is in Santa Clara County, where an indoor mask mandate remains in effect. A face covering requirement was in place throughout the indoor event.
Pence talked about COVID vaccines and disclosed that he is boosted. As expected, he also talked about conservative values, criticized the Biden administration, but he also defended himself against Donald Trump.
Protesters make signs ahead of former Vice President Mike Pence's speech at Stanford University. February 17, 2022.
YAF members said they were "thrilled" to have Pence speak out on campus to challenge "far-left ideas and professors."
"It’s more important than ever that students hear a pro-freedom, pro-America message to counter the indoctrination they face on a daily basis," YAF President Governor Scott Walker said in a press release.
The so-called GOP ‘pro-freedom’ savior had less than a warm welcome from other segments of the student body. Signs read things like: "Stop Calling Your Hate Patriotism," "Teach Ideas Not Hate," and "Immigrants Belong, Hate Doesn't," while others made light of the unfortunate fly incident from his 2020 debate with then vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris.
Fly lands on Mike Pence's head.
Students marched toward the auditorium and bellowed the tried and true, "Hey, hey! Ho, ho! Mike Pence has got to go!" They even embraced the term ‘woke,' often used as a pejorative on right-wing media outlets and collectively chanted, "We are the woke left!"
The speech got off to a rocky start when a handful of protesters booed loudly. One was escorted out of the theater.
Pence warned of cancel culture, 'wokism' and even took a shot at this week's election results in San Francisco.
"This week in San Francisco, parents recalled three woke school board members who cared more about renaming schools than reopening 'em. Wow," Pence exclaimed to uproarious applause. He added that the results are sending shock waves across the country.
Outside the event, we spoke with one of the students who organized the protest against Pence's visit. Some protesters said they agree with free speech, but feel Pence promotes hate speech.
"We just really want to make it known that we as a collective student body do not tolerate his presence here or his harmful rhetoric," said Ritwik Tati, a student protester.
"This is a show of solidarity for everyone who was affected by the Trump administration and its politics and everything that Pence has said, considering he has so much anti-Muslim and anti-Black rhetoric," said student protester Sameeha Khan.
During the Q&A portion, Pence was asked about his role in the 2020 election. Former President Donald Trump claimed Pence had the power to overturn the results. He in fact did not.
"You know, I know in my heart that we did our duty that day," Pence said. He told the crowd he's not sure he and former President Trump will ever see eye to eye on decisions made during the election.
You can watch the Pence speech on YouTube here.