Madam Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, the First Lady of the United States, and my fellow citizens:
Whether we are Republican, Democrat, or Independent, surely we must all agree that every human life is a sacred gift from God!
As we support America’s moms and dads, I was recently proud to sign the law providing new parents in the Federal workforce paid family leave, serving as a model for the rest of the country. Now, I call on the Congress to pass the bipartisan Advancing Support for Working Families Act, extending family leave to mothers and fathers all across the Nation.
Forty million American families have an average $2,200 extra thanks to our child tax credit. I have also overseen historic funding increases for high-quality child care, enabling 17 States to serve more children, many of which have reduced or eliminated their waitlists altogether. And I sent the Congress a plan with a vision to further expand access to high-quality childcare and urge you to act immediately.
To protect the environment, days ago, I announced that the United States will join the One Trillion Trees Initiative, an ambitious effort to bring together Government and the private sector to plant new trees in America and around the world.
We must also rebuild America’s infrastructure. I ask you to pass Senator Barrasso’s highway bill — to invest in new roads, bridges, and tunnels across our land.
I am also committed to ensuring that every citizen can have access to high-speed internet, including rural America.
A better tomorrow for all Americans also requires us to keep America safe. That means supporting the men and women of law enforcement at every level, including our Nation’s heroic ICE officers.
Last year, our brave ICE officers arrested more than 120,000 criminal aliens charged with nearly 10,000 burglaries, 5,000 sexual assaults, 45,000 violent assaults, and 2,000 murders.
Tragically, there are many cities in America where radical politicians have chosen to provide sanctuary for these criminal illegal aliens. In Sanctuary Cities, local officials order police to release dangerous criminal aliens to prey upon the public, instead of handing them over to ICE to be safely removed.
Just 29 days ago, a criminal alien freed by the Sanctuary City of New York was charged with the brutal rape and murder of a 92-year-old woman. The killer had been previously arrested for assault, but under New York’s sanctuary policies, he was set free. If the city had honored ICE’s detainer request, his victim would be alive today.
The State of California passed an outrageous law declaring their whole State to be a sanctuary for criminal illegal immigrants — with catastrophic results.
Here is just one tragic example. In December 2018, California police detained an illegal alien with five prior arrests, including convictions for robbery and assault. But as required by California’s Sanctuary Law, local authorities released him.
Days later, the criminal alien went on a gruesome spree of deadly violence. He viciously shot one man going about his daily work; he approached a woman sitting in her car and shot her in the arm and the chest. He walked into a convenience store and wildly fired his weapon. He hijacked a truck and smashed into vehicles, critically injuring innocent victims. One of the victims of his bloody rampage was a 51-year-old American named Rocky Jones. Rocky was at a gas station when this vile criminal fired eight bullets at him from close range, murdering him in cold blood. Rocky left behind a devoted family, including his brothers who loved him more than anything. One of his grieving brothers is here with us tonight. Jody, would you please stand? Jody, our hearts weep for your loss — and we will not rest until you have justice.
Senator Thom Tillis has introduced legislation to allow Americans like Jody to sue Sanctuary Cities and States when a loved one is hurt or killed as a result of these deadly policies. I ask the Congress to pass the Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act immediately. The United States of America should be a sanctuary for law-abiding Americans — not criminal aliens!
In the last 3 years, ICE has arrested over 5,000 wicked human traffickers — and I have signed 9 pieces of legislation to stamp out the menace of human trafficking, domestically and around the globe.
My Administration has undertaken an unprecedented effort to secure the southern border of the United States.
Before I came into office, if you showed up illegally on our southern border and were arrested, you were simply released and allowed into our country, never to be seen again. My Administration has ended Catch-and-Release. If you come illegally, you will now be promptly removed. We entered into historic cooperation agreements with the Governments of Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. As a result of our unprecedented efforts, illegal crossings are down 75 percent since May — dropping 8 straight months in a row. And as the wall goes up, drug seizures rise, and border crossings go down.
Last year, I traveled to the border in Texas and met Chief Patrol Agent Raul Ortiz. Over the last 24 months, Agent Ortiz and his team have seized more than 200,000 pounds of poisonous narcotics, arrested more than 3,000 human smugglers, and rescued more than 2,000 migrants. Days ago, Agent Ortiz was promoted to Deputy Chief of Border Patrol — and he joins us tonight. Chief Ortiz: Please stand — a grateful Nation thanks you and all the heroes of Border Patrol.
To build on these historic gains, we are working on legislation to replace our outdated and randomized immigration system with one based on merit, welcoming those who follow the rules, contribute to our economy, support themselves financially, and uphold our values.
With every action, my Administration is restoring the rule of law and re-asserting the culture of American freedom. Working with Senate Majority Leader McConnell and his colleagues in the Senate, we have confirmed a record number of 187 new Federal judges to uphold our Constitution as written. This includes two brilliant new Supreme Court Justices, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh.
My Administration is also defending religious liberty, and that includes the Constitutional right to pray in public schools. In America, we do not punish prayer. We do not tear down crosses. We do not ban symbols of faith. We do not muzzle preachers and pastors. In America, we celebrate faith. We cherish religion. We lift our voices in prayer, and we raise our sights to the Glory of God!
Just as we believe in the First Amendment, we also believe in another Constitutional right that is under siege all across our country. So long as I am President I will always protect your Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
In reaffirming our heritage as a free Nation, we must remember that America has always been a frontier nation. Now we must embrace the next frontier, America’s manifest destiny in the stars. I am asking the Congress to fully fund the Artemis program to ensure that the next man and the first woman on the moon will be American astronauts — using this as a launching pad to ensure that America is the first nation to plant its flag on Mars.
My Administration is also strongly defending our national security and combating radical Islamic terrorism. Last week, I announced a groundbreaking plan for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Recognizing that all past attempts have failed, we must be determined and creative in order to stabilize the region and give millions of young people the change to realize a better future.
Three years ago, the barbarians of ISIS held over 20,000 square miles of territory in Iraq and Syria. Today, the ISIS territorial caliphate has been 100 percent destroyed, and the founder and leader of ISIS — the bloodthirsty killer Al‑Baghdadi — is dead!
We are joined this evening by Carl and Marsha Mueller. After graduating from college, their beautiful daughter Kayla became a humanitarian aid worker. Kayla once wrote, “Some people find God in church. Some people find God in nature. Some people find God in love; I find God in suffering. I’ve known for some time what my life’s work is, using my hands as tools to relieve suffering.” In 2013, while caring for suffering civilians in Syria, Kayla was kidnapped, tortured, and enslaved by ISIS, and kept as a prisoner of Al-Baghdadi himself. After more than 500 horrifying days of captivity, Al-Baghdadi murdered young Kayla. She was just 26 years old.
On the night that United States Special Forces Operators ended Al‑Baghdadi’s miserable life, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, received a call in the Situation Room. He was told that the brave men of the elite Special Forces team, that so perfectly carried out the operation, had given their mission a name — “Task Force 8-14.” It was a reference to a special day: August 14th — Kayla’s birthday. Carl and Marsha, America’s warriors never forgot Kayla — and neither will we.
Every day, America’s men and women in uniform demonstrate the infinite depths of love that dwells in the human heart.
One of these American heroes was Army Staff Sergeant Christopher Hake. On his second deployment to Iraq in 2008, Sergeant Hake wrote a letter to his 1-year-old son, Gage: ”I will be with you again,” he wrote to Gage. ”I will teach you to ride your first bike, build your first sand box, watch you play sports and see you have kids also. I love you son, take care of your mother. I am always with you. Dad.” On Easter Sunday of 2008, Chris was out on patrol in Baghdad when his Bradley Fighting Vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb. That night, he made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Sergeant Hake now rests in eternal glory in Arlington, and his wife Kelli is in the gallery tonight, joined by their son, who is now 13 years old. To Kelli and Gage: Chris will live in our hearts forever.
The terrorist responsible for killing Sergeant Hake was Qasem Soleimani, who provided the deadly roadside bomb that took Chris’s life. Soleimani was the Iranian Regime’s most ruthless butcher, a monster who murdered or wounded thousands of American service members in Iraq. As the world’s top terrorist, Soleimani orchestrated the deaths of countless men, women, and children. He directed the December assault on United States Forces in Iraq, and was actively planning new attacks. That is why, last month, at my direction, the United States Military executed a flawless precision strike that killed Soleimani and terminated his evil reign of terror forever.
Our message to the terrorists is clear: You will never escape American justice. If you attack our citizens, you forfeit your life!
In recent months, we have seen proud Iranians raise their voices against their oppressive rulers. The Iranian regime must abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons, stop spreading terror, death, and destruction, and start working for the good of its own people. Because of our powerful sanctions, the Iranian economy is doing very poorly. We can help them make it very good in a short period of time, but perhaps they are too proud or too foolish to ask for that help. We are here. Let’s see which road they choose. It is totally up to them.
As we defend American lives, we are working to end America’s wars in the Middle East.
In Afghanistan, the determination and valor of our warfighters has allowed us to make tremendous progress, and peace talks are underway. I am not looking to kill hundreds of thousands of people in Afghanistan, many of them innocent. It is also not our function to serve other nations as a law enforcement agency. These are warfighters, the best in the world, and they either want to fight to win or not fight at all. We are working to finally end America’s longest war and bring our troops back home!
War places a heavy burden on our Nation’s extraordinary military families, especially spouses like Amy Williams from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and her 2 children — 6-year-old Elliana and 3-year-old Rowan. Amy works full time, and volunteers countless hours helping other military families. For the past 7 months, she has done it all while her husband, Sergeant First Class Townsend Williams, is in Afghanistan on his fourth deployment to the Middle East. Amy’s kids have not seen their father’s face in many months. Amy, your family’s sacrifice makes it possible for all of our families to live in safety and peace — we thank you.
As the world bears witness tonight, America is a land of heroes. This is the place where greatness is born, where destinies are forged, and where legends come to life. This is the home of Thomas Edison and Teddy Roosevelt, of many great Generals, including Washington, Pershing, Patton, and MacArthur. This is the home of Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Amelia Earhart, Harriet Tubman, the Wright Brothers, Neil Armstrong, and so many more. This is the country where children learn names like Wyatt Earp, Davy Crockett, and Annie Oakley. This is the place where the pilgrims landed at Plymouth and where Texas patriots made their last stand at the Alamo.
The American Nation was carved out of the vast frontier by the toughest, strongest, fiercest, and most determined men and women ever to walk the face of the Earth. Our ancestors braved the unknown; tamed the wilderness; settled the Wild West; lifted millions from poverty, disease, and hunger; vanquished tyranny and fascism; ushered the world to new heights of science and medicine; laid down the railroads, dug out canals, raised up the skyscrapers — and, ladies and gentlemen, our ancestors built the most exceptional Republic ever to exist in all of human history. And we are making it greater than ever before!
This is our glorious and magnificent inheritance.
We are Americans. We are the pioneers. We are the pathfinders. We settled the new world, we built the modern world, and we changed history forever by embracing the eternal truth that everyone is made equal by the hand of Almighty God.
America is the place where anything can happen! America is the place where anyone can rise. And here, on this land, on this soil, on this continent, the most incredible dreams come true!
This Nation is our canvas, and this country is our masterpiece. We look at tomorrow and see unlimited frontiers just waiting to be explored. Our brightest discoveries are not yet known. Our most thrilling stories are not yet told. Our grandest journeys are not yet made. The American Age, the American Epic, the American Adventure, has only just begun!
Our spirit is still young; the sun is still rising; God’s grace is still shining; and my fellow Americans, the best is yet to come!
Thank you. God Bless You. God Bless America.
Original article published in VOX.