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MASON CITY, IOWA–The American people have a lot to be proud of, said Vice President and former Indiana Governor Mike Pence Tuesday. Pence spoke at Winnebago Industries in Mason City, Iowa.

Pence praised the resilience and strength of Americans as job creation and retail store sales surged in May.

“The American people shattered expectations again. Retail sales in America soared to 17.7%, the largest monthly increase ever recorded,” said Pence.

The unemployment rate currently is 13.3%. That’s down from 14.7% in April. Pence said the hard work of Americans in the face of adversity is the biggest reason for the “comeback” from the coronavirus.

“We slowed the spread. We flattened the curve. We saved lives. That’s why we’re opening up America again,” said Pence.

He also addressed the coronavirus in an op-ed he wrote in The Wall Street Journal Tuesday.

“In recent days, the media has taken to sounding the alarm bells over a ‘second wave’ of coronavirus infections. Such panic is overblown,” said Pence in the op-ed.

Nine states set records for coronavirus infections Tuesday, hitting one-day highs or new seven-day averages for cases. The spike in cases hit Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, and Texas. In Indiana,more than 2,200 Hoosiers have died from the virus.

A group of Black Lives Matter activists could be heard chanting across the street as Pence spoke. Pence reiterated that he does not support defunding the police, but he did say “there’s no excuse” for what happened to George Floyd. Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer.

“I promise you, a centerpiece of our transition to greatness is going to be law and order,” Pence said. “We’re going to help our police improve.”

Pence said the Trump administration will prioritize public safety and an agenda that promotes job creation and opportunities for all minority communities.