I’ve had three people in my life tell me that it was the words of Ronald Reagan and the model of America that led them to seek freedom here. One was an immigrant who grew up in Castro’s totalitarian regime. Another was a young man who grew up behind the Iron Curtain and became his country’s Minister of Defense. And he told me that he would secretly listen to Ronald Reagan speeches at night on Finnish television. And he understood that America was a place he wanted to be. And I’ve known a man who spent years in the Soviet Gulag, who, again, said it was the miracle of America and of our freedom that convinced him what was possible, convinced him what he needed to strive for.
And I’ve seen the power of faith and freedom. I was in Kenya in 1985, when Pope John Paul II spoke. And a few years later, I was with my mom and dad at the Vatican – my dad was the Vice President – and Pope John Paul grabbed my dad’s hand and shook it and he said to him, “God bless America.” And I know God has blessed America. We all know that we are incredibly blessed. But this freedom that we have been blessed with, this freedom that is defended and guaranteed by our Constitution only survives if we recognize threats to this freedom when they arise. And today, we are facing such a threat. It’s a threat we have never faced before – it’s a former president who is attempting to unravel our Constitutional Republic.