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'America's going back to work': Vice President Pence speaks with Iowa workers as the country continues to reopen

The VP stopped in Forest City to tour Winnebago Industries and deliver remarks on "Opening Up America Again" to employees.

FOREST CITY, Iowa — Vice President is heading back to Washington D.C. after a short visit in Iowa for the White House’s “Opening Up America Again” initiative.

Following Air Force Two’s touchdown in Clear Lake, Pence ate lunch with Gov. Kim Reynolds, her husband Kevin, and Iowa state Sen. Randy Feenstra, R-Hull, at Sally’s in Forest City.

Feenstra recently won the June GOP primary for Iowa's Fourth Congressional District, unseating incumbent Steve King. 

The group then made their way to Winnebago Industries for a tour of the facility where Pence delivered remarks to the employees.

The vice president told employees about the recent numbers on job creation.

“In the month of May, the people of America saw the largest one-month increase in job creation in American history,” Pence said.

The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 13.3% in May as businesses reopened and called workers back. The Associated Press reported that 2.5 million jobs were added, however the U.S. economy still has 20 million fewer jobs than it did in February of this year.

RELATED: Unemployment rate falls to 13.3% as US adds 2.5 million jobs in May

Pence also spoke about increasing retail sales in the U.S.

“But just this morning, after economists predicted that retail sales would increase by maybe 8% for the month of May, the American people shattered expectations again,” Pence said.

U.S. sales jumped by a record 17.7% from April to May. The Associated Press reports that purchases are still down 6.1% from a year ago.

“America’s going back to work!”, Pence exclaimed.

Pence also took time during his remarks to touch on the death of George Floyd that sparked protests across the globe. Floyd died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes on May 25. 

The vice president said that the death of George Floyd was a “disgrace.”

"There's no excuse for what happened with George Floyd, but there's also no excuse to the rioting and looting and violence that has ensued," Pence said. 

"In America we cherish our First Amendment. We respect the concerns of peaceful protesters. We're gonna listen. We're gonna learn. We're gonna lead, but we're not going to defund the police," he proclaimed to the crowd. 

Pence said he and the president have sat down with law enforcement and African American leaders to discuss policing in the U.S. 

Earlier Tuesday, President Trump signed a policing reform executive order.

"As [the] President said today from the Rose Garden, we are one nation, we grieve together and we heal together," Pence said. 

He then detailed the executive order.

"And today, after listening and learning, President Trump signed an executive order that will make immediate resources and training available to police departments across America to improve standards for the use of force deescalation and accountability."

Pence also touched on Iowa's legislature unanimously passing a criminal justice bill just last week. 

RELATED: Gov. Reynolds signs criminal justice bill into law

He also spoke on making resources available to African American and other minority communities, such as increasing choices in health care and schooling. 

Finally, the vice president shifted to his main point: reopening America following the coronavirus pandemic.

"We'll move our nation forward. Together we'll put Americans back to work, and together, we, we will open up, America, again," he said. 

Pence praised Trump for his leadership during the pandemic. 

"Let me also say, would not have been possible without the leadership of President Donald Trump, in partnership with governors and the American people," Pence said. 

He continued, "You know, before we had a single coronavirus case in this country, this president shut down all travel from China. It bought us invaluable time to stand up our national response. It was remarkable to think at the end of February when he asked me to lead the White House Coronavirus Task Force, we'd actually performed less than 8,000 coronavirus tests in the entire country."

"But today we're testing, roughly 60 times that number, every single day. We've performed more than 23 million tests, more than anywhere in the world. That's American ingenuity and work," he said. 

RELATED: VERIFY: Yes, you can join the military if you've had COVID-19 and recover

Pence recognized Reynolds and her administration for their work in Iowa during the pandemic, emphasizing testing capabilities through TestIowa. 

"Gov. Kim Reynolds is already tested nearly a quarter of a million people through the TestIowa program. In her tireless efforts, she's putting the health of Iowans first, and Iowa's been setting the pace, setting the pace and the progress that we made in this pandemic and open it up this great state again," he said.

Pence noted that the U.S. government has been giving states "what they need when they need it."

"That included more than 158 million masks and gowns and face shields and personal protective equipment here in Iowa alone," Pence stated.

Pence also stated, "I'm proud to tell you no American with coronavirus who ever needed a ventilator was ever denied a ventilator in the United States."

WATCH: Vice President Pence's full remarks at Winnebago Industries

The vice president praised all Americans for the sacrifices they've had to make during the pandemic, whether it meant working more hours at the hospital to treat those infected or closing down businesses.

He recognized Winnebago craftsman Rob White for creating face shields with a 3D printer.

Pence claimed that the entire nation has "flattened the curve" of coronavirus. 

"We slowed the spread, we flattened the curve. We saved lives. And that's why we're opening up America again today," the vice president proclaimed. 

Pence continued to thank essential workers across the nation for keeping the economy going during the pandemic. 

"I'm proud to be able to be here, to pay a debt of gratitude to each and every one of you to say "thank you" for what you've done," he said. 

"You know it seems like these days, you turn on the television... seems like there's more that divides us these days," Pence pondered. 

"I actually think otherwise," he said, "I think there will always be more that unites us in these United States of America than it could ever divide us." 

Before completing his remarks, Pence urged his fellow Americans to pray.

"In these times of national challenge, I just also encourage you to pray for America. Pray for all the people in America. Claim those ancient words, that if His people who are called by His name, will humble themselves and pray," he said.  

Following his remarks, Vice President Pence made his way back to Washington, D.C.

WATCH: Complete coverage of Vice President Pence's visit

RELATED: Victims identified after 2 killed, 2 injured in Fort Dodge shooting

RELATED: 'Things aren't very good out there on the farm': Grassley says COVID-19 pandemic causing serious hardships for farmers during Pence's visit to Iowa

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