TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Vice President Mike Pence was back in Arizona Thursday, Oct. 3.
It was his third visit to the state this year and he promised several more in the coming months.
Pence arrived in the Grand Canyon state Wednesday night and stayed until Thursday afternoon.
The vice president came to support Sen. Martha McSally, who’s up for re-election in 2020, as well as to gather support for the stalled US-Canada-Mexico trade agreement.
Pence flew into Tucson International around 11:30 a.m. Thursday. His motorcade traveled from the airport to the Green Valley area along Interstate 19. All lanes of I-19 were closed from Valencia to Duval Mine from 10:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.
KOLD News 13′s Dan Marries got a chance to talk to the vice president on a one-on-one basis following an event at the Caterpillar Inc. training facility near Green Valley.
Pence’s speech at the event focused on getting the U.S. Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement passed, but afterwards Dan talked with Pence about border security, immigration and the environment.
Dan, who has lived in Arizona for 22 years, asked the VP why the United States has had trouble securing the border over the years.
“The good news is thanks to President Trump’s leadership, we are securing our border,” Pence said. “We’re bringing the immediate crisis of illegal immigration that was overwhelming our border just six months ago to an end. Thanks to the president’s strong stand, Mexico is doing more to secure our border than ever before.”
To listen to the entire interview, go HERE.
Speaking to reporters at the training facility, Pence accused Congress of being mired in politics and dragging its feet to approve the deal for the US-Canada-Mexico trade agreement.
Both McSally and Pence said Arizona will see a big boost if the agreement passes. Mexico and Canada have agreed to the deal and are awaiting approval by the U.S.
"The truth of the matter is if we do all that, we can send a clear message to Congress," he said. "We're going to roll our sleeves up even in these divided times. The time is come for Congress to put politics aside the type is going for Congress to vote on the USMCA."
Caterpillar, which sells a lot of heavy equipment in Mexico and Canada, is one of the companies pushing for the agreement.
The company said the trade deal, which would replace NAFTA, could bring thousands of jobs to southern Arizona.
Pence said the USMCA has bipartisan support in Congress and urged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to bring it to a vote.
Pence also made a pledge to American workers.
"American manufacturing is working today, American manufacturing is winning even more when we pass the USMCA," he said.
Pence was asked about the Ukraine scandal while in Scottsdale early Thursday,
Pence echoed Trump’s private and public urging of Ukraine’s president to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and Biden’s family.
Earlier Thursday, Trump said China should also investigate the Bidens.
Speaking to reporters at the White House, Trump was again asked what he wanted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to do with regard to the Bidens.
"Well I would think that if they were honest about it, they'd start a major investigation into the Bidens. It's a very simple answer. They should investigate the Bidens," Trump said.
Pence told Arizona reporters he thinks “the American people have a right to know if the vice president of the United States or his family profited from his position as vice president during the last administration.”
Trump’s actions have ensnarled the White House in an impeachment investigation by the Democratic-controlled House.
Trump has sought, without evidence, to implicate Biden and his son Hunter in the kind of corruption that has long plagued Ukraine. Hunter Biden served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company at the same time his father was leading the Obama administration’s diplomatic dealings with Kyiv.
Pence said the whole matter is about rooting out corruption, which was one of the mandates of the Trump presidency.
Biden’s campaign chairman has claimed Trump’s assertions merely show he’s afraid of facing Biden in next year’s election.
House intelligence committee chairman Adam Schiff, who has a leading role in Congress’ impeachment inquiry, said Trump’s comments show “he feels he can do anything with impunity.”
Pence said he and President Trump are “going to be in and out of Arizona a lot” during the 2020 campaign.
Pence told reporters after an event in Scottsdale the Trump campaign will appeal to Hispanic voters in Arizona with a focus on faith, family and opposition to abortion.
Arizona is emerging as a 2020 battleground state.
The vice president touted economic strength, job growth and tax cuts.
Pence was in Arizona to raise money for Sen. Martha McSally, who faces a tough election next year.