October 20, 2016

Pence rallies Trump supporters in ABQ

Andy Lyman

Mike Pence at rally in Albuquerque on Oct. 20, 2016.

On his second campaign visit to Albuquerque in three months, Republican Vice Presidential nominee Mike Pence repeated many of the statements he touched on during his first visit.

“When I get up in the morning, I’ve got to turn on the television with a stick,” the Indiana governor said, repeating a lament he said in August aimed at perceived media bias against Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump.

“The party in power just can’t seem to figure out my running mate,” Pence continued. “And of course, I’m talking about the media.”

Pence held the rally at the Hilton Embassy Suites near downtown Albuquerque.

Saying media coverage of Trump’s scandals still hasn’t eliminated him from contention, Pence stated that the coverage is “kind of fun to watch.”

“They got one tweet and they think they got him,” Pence said, “and they get up the next morning and Donald Trump is still standing.”

Pence criticized media for ignoring “an avalanche of controversies” surrounding Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

“Today I think I’ll help them,” he said.

Pence then proceeded to cite a story from the USA Today, a major media outlet, about companies that gave money to the Clinton Foundation lobbying the State Department during Clinton’s term as Secretary of State.

“The nexus among private companies, Hillary Clinton’s State Department and the Clinton family foundations is closer and more complex than even Donald Trump has claimed so far,” Pence said, reading word-for-word the opening sentence of the USA Today article.

Pence also chimed in on the latest controversy surrounding Trump—whether he will accept the results of the election if he loses. In the past week, Trump has repeatedly raised alarms over an unproven conspiracy that the media, Clinton and international bankers will rig the results of the upcoming election.

Pence downplayed Trump’s conspiracy theory.

“The national media has been criticizing my running mate for suggesting there is some voter fraud,” Pence said.

Pence argued that “voter fraud is real” by citing the “intentional voter fraud” from a Democratic Party-leaning political action committee in his home state of Indiana.

The super PAC in question, Patriot Majority USA, is actually under investigation in Indiana for alleged voter fraud.

Trump has also lagged in most polls since the first debate between him and Clinton in September.

Pence did praise one journalist, Chris Wallace of Fox News, for his questions as moderator of the most recent presidential debate held Wednesday night. Specifically, Pence said he liked that Wallace began the debate by asking about the current judicial vacancy in the U.S. Supreme Court.

The next president, Pence warned, will likely set the direction for the Supreme Court for the next 40 years.

Pence lamented that Clinton took “nearly two minutes” to mention the U.S. Constitution when discussing what she would like to see in a new Supreme Court justice.

“Well what we want the supreme court to do is uphold the Constitution,” Pence said. “For sake of the law, for the sake of sanctity of life, for the sake of the right to keep and bear arms for the constitution, for the sake of all God-given liberties.”

The Supreme Court has had a vacancy since this February, when Antonin Scalia died. The Republican-led Senate has refused to hold hearings on Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s choice to fill the spot.

Like Pence’s last Albuquerque rally, many attendees in the crowd shouted familiar slogans from this election year throughout the speech, including but not limited to:

“Lock her up!”

“She’s an idiot!”

“Build a wall!”

At one point, Pence conceded that “sometimes elections don’t offer much of a choice.”

As he said this, someone in the crowd shouted, “Our governor stinks!” Though she’s a Republican, this marks the third time a Pence or Trump rally that included critiques of Gov. Susana Martinez in New Mexico.

During Pence’s August rally, the crowd booed when Pence defended Martinez as a “great governor.”

Trump himself criticized Martinez at an Albuquerque rally in May for “not doing the job.”

Hours before Pence’s rally, New Mexico Democratic Party Chairwoman Deb Haaland criticized the state Republican Party for endorsing Trump through his most recent controversies.

“Republicans have a dangerous and divisive candidate bearing the standard for their party and Republicans in New Mexico will have to answer for that,” Haaland said.

Earlier in the week, former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders rallied for Clinton at the University of New Mexico campus.

Andy Lyman contributed to this story.