Former Vice President Mike Pence traveled to Minnesota on Wednesday to speak out against school policies that support transgender students.
“We gather here today because there’s a fight underway,” Pence said to an assembled crowd of fewer than 100 people at the Minneapolis Club, the Star Tribunereports.
He spoke at the downtown event as GOP presidential candidates are beginning to throw in their hats for 2024, with Nikki Haley announcing her run this week. Former President Donald Trump announced his candidacy in November.
“The truth is the average American today is being dragged into a left-wing culture war that’s invaded our schools, our colleges, and our workplace,” Pence lamented.
“Every day we’re told that we must not only tolerate the left’s obsessions with race and sex and gender, but we must earnestly and enthusiastically participate or face severe consequences. And nowhere is the problem more severe or the need for leadership more urgent than in our public school classrooms,” the conservative Christian former vice president warned.
Pence has yet to declare himself a candidate despite traveling the country and releasing a new book a few months ago. After his Minneapolis appearance, Pence was on his way to Iowa, which remains the first stop for Republicans in the presidential race.
Parents and community members were to be met by Pence in Cedar Rapids, where a group of conservatives has sued the Linn-Mar Community School District over gender-affirming school policies. A district policy states that transgender, gender nonconforming, and questioning students will be supported. As opposed to their parents, students who are in seventh grade or older control how they are supported. A student’s transgender status cannot be disclosed to others, including parents, unless the student authorizes it or if it is required by law, according to the policy.
The policy states that all students have the right to address by the name and pronoun corresponding to their gender identity.
According to Parents Defending Education, a group that opposes inclusion and diversity efforts in schools, the policies should not be enforced. The group filed a lawsuit that asserts the claim that the district is violating parents’ constitutional rights to make decisions about how their children are raised and that the policy violates others’ First Amendment right by forcing them to respect a student’s preferred pronouns, which may be in conflict with how others perceive the student.
“Across the country, parents’ rights are being trampled by a politically correct nanny state,” Pence said. “We are going to take the fight for parents’ rights all the way to the Supreme Court.”
In his roughly 20-minute speech, Pence also praised the end of Roe v. Wade, called critical race theory “state-sanctioned racism,” and stressed the importance of two-parent families.
After his appearance, Pence continued his bigoted attacks on Twitter.
“Around the Country, students are being force fed a curriculum based on CRT and now, a radical gender ideology has seeped into our classrooms, teaching children to hate their own bodies, and furthering the notion that it’s possible to transition from one gender to another!” Pence wrote.
Pence continued, writing in a tweet that was not satire, “It wasn’t our choice to start the Left’s culture war. Now we have no choice but to win it. And We Will Win!”
But in Minnesota, the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, which controls the state legislature, is considering legislation that would make the state a “trans refuge” — protecting the rights of children and adult individuals to access gender-affirming care.
Ken Martin, the chairman of the DFL Party in Minnesota, dismissed the possibility of Pence becoming president before his Minnesota stop.
“Vice President Pence will never be anything more than Donald Trump’s most embarrassing lapdog,” Martin said, according to the Star Tribune. “If Pence thinks his record of failure in the White House, his attacks on LGBTQ Americans, and his repeated efforts to cut Social Security and Medicare will help him win the presidency, he’s in for a very long two years.”