Vice President Pence on Tuesday praised Gina Haspel, President Trump’s pick to be CIA director, calling her the right person to fill the "vital role."
“I'm very excited about it because I know Gina real well and I couldn't be more proud of her,” Pence said in remarks at the Women's History Month Celebration hosted by the Independent Women's Forum.
“Gina Haspel is stepping up to lead our nation in this vital role.”
Trump said Tuesday he intends to nominate Haspel to the top spot at the nation's spy agency after he ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and tapped current CIA Director Mike Pompeo to take his post.
If confirmed, Haspel will be the first woman to lead the CIA. But Haspel, who has been at the agency since 1985, is also facing scrutiny over her involvement in waterboarding and other torture techniques used on detainees at a secret CIA prison in Thailand in 2002.
The Independent Women's Forum, a conservative nonprofit group that focuses on women's economic issues, had awarded the vice president with the “Working for Women” award in 2017.
Pence cited women in leadership roles in the West Wing and throughout the administration. And he also commended women who are “heroes each and every day” in businesses and homes across the nation.
“It's the women of America who in every real sense throughout our history have lifted our communities, have lifted our families, have lifted our nation,” Pence said.
Pence also touted the GOP tax-reform bill and the 300,000 jobs created in February. He said the thriving economy would especially benefit women.
“Nearly 40 percent of entrepreneurs in America today are women,” he said. “And for them, and for all job creators, the actions that President Trump has been taking with strong partners in Congress are making growing a business easier than ever before.”
“We're going to continue to work to expand opportunities for every American and for women across this country,” Pence vowed.
Also at the event was Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), who introduced Pence.
She said the two had many similarities, citing their support for strong families and their Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
“I’m thinking if we get out of here on time and get the Secret Service out, we might actually grab a couple of those motorcycles and take them out for a spin,” she joked.