"Opportunity zones are helping Americans like Army veteran Tony Rankins from Cincinnati, Ohio. After struggling with drug addiction, Tony lost his job, his house and his family. He was homeless. But then Tony found a construction company that invests in opportunity zones. He is now a top tradesman, drug-free, reunited with his family, and he is here tonight. Tony, keep up the great work. Thank you, Tony."
"We are supporting the hopes of Cubans, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans to restore democracy. The United States is leading a 59-nation diplomatic coalition against the socialist dictator of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro. Maduro is an illegitimate ruler, a tyrant who brutalizes his people. But Maduro’s grip on tyranny will be smashed and broken.
"Here this evening is a very brave man who carries with him the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of all Venezuelans. Joining us in the gallery is the true and legitimate president of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó. Mr. President, please take this message back to your homeland. Thank you, Mr. President. Great honor. Thank you very much.
"Please take this message back that all Americans are united with the Venezuelan people in their righteous struggle for freedom. Thank you very much, Mr. President. Thank you very much.
"Socialism destroys nations. But always remember: Freedom unifies the soul."
"In the gallery tonight, we have a young gentleman. And what he wants so badly — 13 years old — Iain Lanphier. He’s an eighth grader from Arizona. Iain, please stand up.
"Iain has always dreamed of going to space. He was the first in his class and among the youngest at an aviation academy. He aspires to go to the Air Force Academy, and then he has his eye on the Space Force. As Iain says, 'Most people look up at space. I want to look down on the world.'"
"But sitting behind Iain tonight is his greatest hero of them all. Charles McGee was born in Cleveland, Ohio, one century ago. Charles is one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen — the first black fighter pilots — and he also happens to be Iain’s great-grandfather. Incredible story.
"After more than 130 combat missions in World War II, he came back home to a country still struggling for civil rights and went on to serve America in Korea and Vietnam. On Dec. 7th, Charles celebrated his 100th birthday. A few weeks ago, I signed a bill promoting Charles McGee to Brigadier General. And earlier today, I pinned the stars on his shoulders in the Oval Office. General McGee, our nation salutes you. Thank you, sir."
"The next step forward in building an inclusive society is making sure that every young American gets a great education and the opportunity to achieve the American Dream. Yet, for too long, countless American children have been trapped in failing government schools. To rescue these students, 18 states have created school choice in the form of Opportunity Scholarships. The programs are so popular that tens of thousands of students remain on a waiting list.
"One of those students is Janiyah Davis, a fourth grader from Philadelphia. Janiyah. Janiyah’s mom, Stephanie, is a single parent. She would do anything to give her daughter a better future. But last year, that future was put further out of reach when Pennsylvania’s governor vetoed legislation to expand school choice to 50,000 children.
"Janiyah and Stephanie are in the gallery. Stephanie, thank you so much for being here with your beautiful daughter. Thank you very much.
"But, Janiyah, I have some good news for you, because I am pleased to inform you that your long wait is over. I can proudly announce tonight that an Opportunity Scholarship has become available, it’s going to you, and you will soon be heading to the school of your choice.
"Now I call on Congress to give one million American children the same opportunity Janiyah has just received. Pass the Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunities Act — because no parent should be forced to send their child to a failing government school."
"Almost every American family knows the pain when a loved one is diagnosed with a serious illness. Here tonight is a special man, beloved by millions of Americans who just received a Stage 4 advanced cancer diagnosis. This is not good news, but what is good news is that he is the greatest fighter and winner that you will ever meet. Rush Limbaugh, thank you for your decades of tireless devotion to our country.
"And, Rush, in recognition of all that you have done for our nation, the millions of people a day that you speak to and that you inspire, and all of the incredible work that you have done for charity, I am proud to announce tonight that you will be receiving our country’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
"I will now ask the first lady of the United States to present you with the honor. Please.
"Rush and Kathryn, congratulations. Thank you, Kathryn."
"As we pray for all who are sick, we know that America is constantly achieving new medical breakthroughs. In 2017, doctors at St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City delivered one of the earliest premature babies ever to survive. Born at just 21 weeks and 6 days, and weighing less than a pound, Ellie Schneider was a born fighter. Through the skill of her doctors and the prayers of her parents, little Ellie kept on winning the battle of life. Today, Ellie is a strong, healthy two-year-old girl sitting with her amazing mother Robin in the Gallery. Ellie and Robin, we are glad to have you with us tonight.
"Ellie reminds us that every child is a miracle of life. And thanks to modern medical wonders, 50 percent of very premature babies delivered at the hospital where Ellie was born now survive. It’s an incredible thing. Thank you very much.
"Our goal should be to ensure that every baby has the best chance to thrive and grow just like Ellie. That is why I’m asking Congress to provide an additional $50 million to fund neonatal research for America’s youngest patients.
"That is why I’m also calling upon members of Congress here tonight to pass legislation finally banning the late-term abortion of babies. Whether we are Republican, Democrat, or independent, surely we must all agree that every human life is a sacred gift from God."
"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 still be alive today.
"The state of California passed an outrageous law declaring their whole state to be a sanctuary for criminal illegal immigrants — a very terrible sanctuary — 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 in 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 is — a terrible, terrible situation; died — 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 else in the world. One of his grieving brothers is here with us tonight. Jody, would you please stand? Jody, thank you. 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 practices.
"I ask 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."
"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 of the heroes of Border Patrol and ICE. Thank you very much. Thank you."
"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 known as 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. She 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, beautiful Kayla. She was just 26 years old.
"On the night that U.S. Special Forces Operations 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: Aug. 14 — Kayla’s birthday. Carl and Marsha, America’s warriors never forgot Kayla — and neither will we. Thank you."
"Every day, America’s men and women in uniform demonstrate the infinite depth of love that dwells in the human heart.
"One of these American heroes was Army Staff Sgt. 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. Daddy.'
"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 a 13-year-old and doing very, very well. To Kelli and Gage: Chris will live in our hearts forever. He is looking down on you now. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you both very much.
"The terrorist responsible for killing Sergeant Hake was Qassim Suleimani, who provided the deadly roadside bomb that took Chris’s life. Suleimani 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, Suleimani orchestrated the deaths of countless men, women, and children. He directed the December assault and went on to assault U.S. forces in Iraq. Was actively planning new attacks when we hit him very hard. And that’s why, last month, at my direction, the U.S. military executed a flawless precision strike that killed Suleimani 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."
"War places a heavy burden on our nation’s extraordinary military families, especially spouses like Amy Williams from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and her two 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 seven months, she has done it all while her husband, Sgt. First Class Townsend Williams, is in Afghanistan on his fourth deployment in the Middle East. Amy’s kids haven’t 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 in peace, and we want to thank you. Thank you, Amy.
"But, Amy, there is one more thing. Tonight, we have a very special surprise. I am thrilled to inform you that your husband is back from deployment. He is here with us tonight, and we couldn’t keep him waiting any longer.
"Welcome home, Sergeant Williams. Thank you very much."
DONALD J. TRUMP,
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