Vice President Mike Pence celebrated President Trump's pick to lead the Central Intelligence Agency at Women's History Month event on Tuesday evening, hours after the commander in chief announced current CIA director Mike Pompeo was headed to the State Department.
Speaking to an enthusiastic crowd of Independent Women's Forum supporters gathered for the organization's lively Women's History Month reception in downtown Washington, Pence said, "I hope you all noticed just this morning President Trump announced his plans to nominate the first woman to serve as … director of the Central Intelligence Agency."
The vice president offered a full-throated endorsement of the president's newly announced pick for the post, deputy CIA director Gina Haspel, seemingly going off script to note, "I know Gina real well and I couldn't be more proud of her."
"I'm real excited about it," Pence said. Haspel drew immediate opposition from Democrats on Tuesday for her implementation of the Bush-era enhanced interrogation technique program and alleged destruction of video footage relating to it.
Throughout his remarks at the gathering of conservative faithfuls, Pence emphasized Trump's focus on women's causes, insisting attendees "have a friend in the White House," and reaffirming the administration's belief that "all issues are women's issues."
"Women in America are making history every single day," he insisted.
Pence focused heavily on the economy's impact on women, noting that "women are graduating from college and getting advanced degrees in record numbers," and arguing women are "driving our economy through entrepreneurship and innovation as never before."
"The growing economy is great news for every American, but it's especially great news for women in the workforce in this country," he declared, adding that "nearly 40 percent of entrepreneurs in America today are women."
Throughout his remarks, the vice president listed off a number of Republican women serving in the administration and in Congress, from United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley to Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, who introduced him at the event. Pence's mention of White House adviser and first daughter Ivanka Trump drew especially loud applause from the crowd. He also made sure to laud historical figures including both Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony.
On policy matters, Pence told the crowd the Trump administration is "going to deliver paid family leave."
Speaking as "the proud dad of two extraordinarily strong and independent young women" who were "raised by a professional woman themselves," the vice president concluded on an optimistic note. "I truly do believe that for all the contributions that America's women have made — a long and storied history in this country — the women of this country have only just begun," said Pence.