KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Vice President Mike Pence told an enthusiastic crowd Wednesday in downtown Kansas City that the president has a special place in his heart for farmers.
Pence promised passage of a farm bill that is making its way through Congress, praised the Kansas congressional delegation for its support of President Donald Trump and presented a litany of accomplishments for his administration.
"I think there’s only one way you can sum up the last year and a half," Pence said. "It’s been a year and a half of actions, a year and a half of results, it’s been a year and a half of promises made and promises kept."
Pence was the keynote speaker for an event hosted by America First Policies, a nonprofit that channels financial resources to support Trump's agenda.
Inside a packed hotel ballroom, supporters greeted Pence with a minute-long ovation, then shouted down a pair of hecklers who were quickly subdued. Crowd members wore T-shirts that replaced the Twitter logo with Trump's head, depicted Rosie the Riveter longing to "build the wall" and, in an allusion to Ayn Rand's magnum opus, asked, "Who is John Galt?"
Outside, a man wearing a bald eagle shirt hawked wooden medallions with Trump's image burned onto them for $10. Across the street, protesters gathered in outrage over the president's nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Pence described Kavanaugh as "a principled jurist who will interpret the Constitution as it is written." He said the choice is just the latest example of the president's commitment to appointing conservative judges.
As Pence was making his way to Kansas City, the president was in Germany, where he tweeted he is "always thinking about our farmers."
"Farmers have done poorly for 15 years," the president said. "Other countries’ trade barriers and tariffs have been destroying their businesses. I will open things up, better than ever before, but it can’t go too quickly. I am fighting for a level playing field for our farmers, and will win."
Trump is fighting for free and fair trade deals, Pence said, that will benefit farmers in Kansas and Missouri. The vice president praised U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., for his work in crafting a bipartisan farm bill.
A competing House plan threatens to impede passage before the current farm bill expires at the end of September.
"Make no mistake about it," Pence said. "With this Congress, we’re going to get the farm bill done."
He hailed the passage of sweeping tax reform in December and a provision that allows farmers to deduct the cost of new farm equipment.
Pence described U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., as the architect of that plan, thanked her for her support of the president and praised her for a distinguished career.
Jenkins, who isn't seeking re-election to the office she has held for 10 years, spoke about the massive tax cut package as part of a panel discussion before Pence took the stage. She called it the "single-most important piece of legislation Congress has passed in the last 30 years."
"The driving force behind this entire effort was getting the economy going again, getting people back to work," Jenkins said. "I think this accomplished that."
The vice president, who stumped for U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kan., at a private event Wednesday morning, urged the crowd to support the Kansas delegation.
Rachel Irwin, spokeswoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said Yoder is being rewarded for being a foot soldier for Trump.
"Kansans are paying the price back home," Irwin said. "Yoder must answer for his full-throated embrace of the GOP agenda that gives tax cuts to the wealthy while Kansas jobs are shipped overseas, and guts protections for those with pre-existing conditions like cancer, diabetes and asthma."
Pence listed a reversal of a federal mandate to buy health insurance among Trump's signature achievements, along with securing $1.65 billion toward building a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.
Sometimes, Pence said, he wakes up and turns the TV on with a stick, not knowing what he will find on the news. Pence told those in the crowd to leave with a burden in their hearts for the work that still needs to be done.
Tell people our story of American renewal, Pence said, and how the forgotten men and women are forgotten no more.
"I know we will make America prosperous again," Pence said. "We will make America safe again. And we will make America great again."