March 1 (UPI) -- Vice President Mike Pence compared Democratic presidential candidates -- whom he described as socialists -- to the regime of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro during his Friday speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland.
Pence pointed to Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who has described himself as a democratic socialist. The vice president said he's not the only one.
"Bernie has been joined by a chorus of candidates and newly elected officials who have papered over the failed policies of socialism with bumper-sticker slogans and slick social-media campaigns," Pence said.
He criticized Democratic lawmakers for wanting more taxes, spending, government and less freedom.
"The moment America becomes a socialist country is the moment that America ceases to be America," Pence said. "We know where socialism leads. If you want socialism, just look at Venezuela."
He criticized Maduro for turning Venezuela from "one of the richest and most vibrant democracies in the Western Hemisphere" to "one of the poorest and most despotic."
Pence headlined events Friday, the second day of the annual CPAC event, which also featured remarks from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and President Donald Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr.
The younger Trump spoke during a panel at Liberty University with his girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle, Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr., Fallwell's wife, Becki Falwell, and conservative activist Charlie Kirk.
Trump Jr. accused liberals of attempting to undermine his father's presidency.
"The left hates Donald Trump more than they love America," he said, adding that the congressional testimony of the president's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, was damaging to his negotiations in North Korea.
"They would rather have failed nuclear peace talks than to give him any kind of a win."
Speaking of border security, Cruz said President Trump should have pushed for wall funding when Republicans had control of both the House and Senate. He said perhaps Democrats wouldn't have won majority control in the House.
"In September, October, and it culminated with Republicans standing together funding and building the wall," he said. "I don't think we would have lost the House of Representatives."
He echoed Trump Jr.'s statement, that he believes Democrats are working against what's good for the country because they dislike the president.
"Trump equals wall, we, the Democrats, hate Trump, therefore no wall," Cruz said. "That's it."
The conservative conference began Thursday and included remarks from Labor Secretary Alex Acosta and White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow.
Other discussions Friday included "Does America First Mean America Alone?," "21st Century Terminator: How China is Using 5G" and "AI to Take Over the World and Sue The U: A Crash Course in Fighting Censorship."
President Donald Trump is scheduled to address the conference at 11:30 a.m. EST Saturday.