VP Mike Pence addresses American Legion convention in Minneapolis Thursday

Vice President Mike Pence made a stop in Minneapolis Thursday to speak at the American Legion’s 100th national convention—his second visit to Minnesota this month. 

Pence delivered the keynote address on the final day of the convention, which was held at the Minneapolis Convention Center. He spoke in front of a smaller crowd, as many attendees had already gone home. 

The vice president’s speech came a few days after the American Legion, among others, pressured the White House to lower their flag to honor late U.S. Sen. John McCain. 

“In the Congress of the United States, he would become one of the most unwavering advocates of our armed forces to ever serve and I can assure you, Americans will always remember and honor the lifetime of service of United States Sen. John McCain,” Pence said. 

His tribute to McCain earned him a standing ovation. 

“People have their views on Sen. McCain, but he was still a veteran and a POW and that’s all that matters—veterans helping veterans,” Brad Pagel, a Minnesota veteran who attended the speech, said. 

Pence spent much of his address on improvements to veterans’ medical care and ending the backlog at VA hospitals. 

Veterans say the improvements are very noticeable. 

“Everything is coming together now and it is a whole changed VA and it’s really good,” Hal Rice, a veteran from Montana, said. 

As Pence spoke of increased funding for the military, another standing ovation came for the war on terror. 

“ISIS is on the run,” Pence said. “Their caliphate has crumbled, and we will soon drive ISIS from the face of the Earth” 

After his speech, the vice president exited quickly to attend a fundraising event in Bloomington for the Republican Party of Minnesota.