“We Need A Leader”
July 17, 2023
The following remarks are as prepared for delivery.
Thank you, Pastor Hagee.
You know, we’ve stood side-by-side in this cause for quite a while now.
We’ve come to Washington together. We’ve gone to Israel together. And we’ve prayed together, many times.
I’ve learned so much from you and Diana. And while this is a night to honor Israel, this is a year to honor you.
Congratulations on your 65 years of preaching the truth – and your lifetime of service to Israel and the Lord of Israel!
It’s so good to be back at CUFI.
This is one of my favorite nights of the year. Being here always warms my heart.
As you know, this isn’t my first time speaking to you.
But this is the first time I’ve joined you as a candidate for President of the United States.
I’m running for President for so many reasons.
To make America strong.
To make America proud.
And I’m running to restore America to its rightful role in the world.
We need a leader who will stand by our friends and stand up to our enemies.
And we must have a president who stands with Israel – without apology!
Like you, for me, supporting Israel is a matter of faith.
But supporting Israel is also a basic test of American leadership.
It’s not just the right thing. It’s the smart thing. Standing with Israel has always been in America’s interest.
Think about it. Israel shares our values and our vision for peace.
She’s a nation of faith and a beacon of freedom – a democratic island in a sea of tyranny.
And Israel isn’t just a friend. We share the same enemies.
Virtually everything about Israel justifies America’s longstanding support.
When she is strong, we are stronger. When she is safe, we are safer.
The leaders of both parties have understood this for 70 years.
Republicans and Democrats have stood with Israel.
That is, until recently.
When I say this president has been a disappointment, it’s the understatement of the decade.
From day one, Joe Biden has weakened America and failed to stand by Israel.
America is in global retreat. Israel is in greater danger.
It doesn’t have to be like this. And we can’t afford four more years of weakness – or even a year and a half.
We need a pro-Israel president – whoever she may be!
We need a leader who not only respects Israel, but also respects her people’s right to govern themselves.
Joe Biden has attacked that right.
I’m sure you remember earlier this year. Israel was debating judicial reforms.
The back-and-forth was intense. But that’s what happens in a democracy.
You debate. You disagree. You find a way forward.
Israel, like America, has the right to decide its own laws. No other country should dive into its internal debates.
A wise president would have known that.
But Joe Biden continues to show us what a weak president looks like.
He called on Israel’s Prime Minister to, and I quote, “walk away” from his reforms.
He then said the Prime Minister “cannot continue down this road.”
And just today, Biden called Netanyahu to complain.
He won’t let it go. And he’s more focused on Israel’s domestic debates than the mess he’s made in America.
This isn’t just wrong. It’s dangerous.
Joe Biden is risking our friendship with Israel – just because he doesn’t like Benjamin Netanyahu.
And for the record, it took Joe Biden far too long to invite Netanyahu to the U.S.
He finally made the offer today. But as recently as last week, he refused. And Biden tried to justify it by pointing to the Prime Minister’s coalition partners.
That’s pretty rich, coming from Joe Biden.
He has AOC and the Squad in his party. And just this week, a leading Democrat called Israel a “racist state.”
The Democratic Party is the definition of extreme. It’s time to censure the Squad and get anti-Semitism out of America – for good!
This is not what an ally does. This is not how a friend treats another friend. And it’s certainly not how I treated Israel at the U.N.
But this isn’t just an insult to Israel. It makes America look small and petty.
Imagine if the shoe was on the other foot. If Israel’s leader demanded that America stop some judicial reform.
We would never tolerate that. And we shouldn’t.
The conclusion is unmistakable.
Joe Biden needs to stay out of Israel’s business! And he should end the chaos in America that he’s created!
We need a leader who builds bridges with our friends. Not someone who puts a gulf between us.
When I was ambassador, I worked hard to deepen our friendship with Israel.
Lord knows, it was no small feat.
Just before I got to the U.N., the Obama Administration threw Israel under the bus.
They abstained on the resolution condemning Israel – in front of the whole world. It was shameful.
Until then, the U.S. had vetoed that resolution for decades.
Staying silent was a failure of moral leadership – and a slap in the face to our friend.
It was my job to clean up the Obama administration’s mess. I took my duty seriously.
When I arrived at the United Nations, we ditched protocol.
The U.S. had always met with the same countries, in the same order. Israel was nowhere near the top of the list.
But I made meeting with Israel a priority.
And I told their ambassador I’d never abstain – that I would always have Israel’s back.
I’ll send an even stronger message as president.
When Joe Biden took office, he ignored our best friend in the Middle East for a whole month. That’s how long he took to call Israel’s leader.
As president, I’ll call Israel on day one – and I’ll make clear that we stand together!
We need a leader who does the right thing.
Not like President Biden, who recently declared a boycott of Israel.
We’re stopping cooperation with Israeli science and research projects in Judea and Samaria.
The White House says such partnerships are quote “inconsistent with U.S. foreign policy.”
No, they’re not.
But the president’s actions are consistent with his and Obama’s opposition to Israel.
If these were science projects in China, you can be sure Biden would fund them. But not Israel!
We shouldn’t be canceling cooperation with Israel. We should deepen our ties.
And the only thing we should boycott is BDS, like I did as governor of South Carolina.
We were the first state in the country to do so – now 37 states have followed our lead!
We need a leader who knows the difference between right and wrong.
It’s not hard.
It’s wrong to support a group that routinely calls Israel evil, while ignoring real evil.
It’s wrong to be part of an organization that teaches children to hate Israel.
When I was ambassador, the United States pulled out of U.N. agencies that spew hatred toward the Jewish State and the Jewish people.
The U.N. Human Rights Council does little more than criticize Israel. For the record, Israel has an excellent human rights record.
Meanwhile, the Council ignores countries like China that are actively engaged in genocide.
That’s why we pulled out of the Human Rights Council.
And the same goes for UNRWA. That U.N. organization uses American money to feed Palestinian hatred of the Jewish State.
We said no more. We cut ties with UNRWA.
And we pulled out of UNESCO, too. That agency is supposed to protect the world’s heritage. Instead, it denies the Jewish people’s history.
America should fight anti-Semitism – not fund it with tax dollars!
Apparently, Joe Biden disagrees.
Remember how it took him a month to call Israel’s prime minister? It only took him two weeks to announce he’d rejoin the Human Rights Council.
Not long after that, he started giving American money to fund UNRWA again.
And just last month, the Biden administration announced we’re jumping back into UNESCO.
This is insane! It’s insulting to Israel and America.
None of these groups are doing anything different. The Biden administration didn’t demand reforms as a condition of U.S. membership or taxpayer money.
They are doing the bidding of tyrants and anti-Semites – all with the blessing of the United States.
But not for long.
Less than two years from now, the Haley administration will pull out of every anti-Israel group – period!
We need a leader who stands up to bullies. We need a president who makes the Middle East safer.
We know it can be done.
Just a few years ago, we finally took major steps toward peace between Israel and the Arab world.
The Abraham Accords are one of the greatest foreign policy achievements of the 21st Century.
And I intend to build on that achievement. We’ll bring peace to the Middle East once and for all!
People said it would never happen. I know, because they told me when I was ambassador.
They couldn’t have been more wrong. The Arab world just needed a little push. And the United States just needed to stand strong.
The truth is, we could have gone even further. More countries were close to peace with Israel.
But not anymore.
The same people who said peace was impossible are back in charge, in the Biden administration.
Turns out, they’re the ones who pushed peace out of reach. They’re doing it again.
Biden has continued to push friendly countries away. And he’s pushing them into the arms of our enemies.
Today, countries like Saudi Arabia think China and Russia are better partners than the United States.
Think about that. They’d rather work with a communist tyrant than the leader of the free world.
For the sake of America, and for Israel, we need to make Joe Biden a one-term president.
We need a leader who advances peace in the Middle East.
And of course, we need a leader who will stop Iran from starting a war.
How is it that Joe cozies up to Iran while dissing Israel?
When I spoke to you last year, the situation with Iran was bad.
It’s even worse now.
Many believe Iran is only months or even weeks away from having the capability to get a nuclear bomb.
But the Biden administration has done absolutely nothing.
Actually, that’s a little unfair.
Biden hasn’t done nothing. He’s given Iran exactly what it wants.
The president waived sanctions on Iran’s nuclear program.
He’s lifted sanctions on some of its missile companies. You know, the ones that make the missiles that will carry nuclear weapons.
What’s more, Joe Biden is letting Iran skirt sanctions on oil exports.
Talk about foolish! We’ve given away our best bargaining chip. When Iran feels pain, it feels pressure to change.
Biden has taken the pressure off. And in its place, he’s done nothing but talk.
Joe Biden thinks the ayatollahs are negotiating in good faith.
They aren’t. They never have. And they never will. They hate us and they hate Israel.
Iran is playing Joe Biden like a fiddle – just like it did Barack Obama.
After years of talking, Iran is closer to a nuclear weapon than ever before. But what does the president want to do?
You guessed it. He wants to chat some more!
The Biden administration has now reopened discussions for a new Iran deal. It’s unbelievable.
Iran spent the past two years saying it wouldn’t budge. Biden showed weakness. Now the ayatollahs are in a stronger position. And he thinks now they’ll do what we want?
No chance. They’re not going to give up anything – especially their nuclear program.
A nuclear deal will only lead to more Iranian oppression and more Iranian terrorism.
If you want a preview, just look at what happened in Jenin over the past few weeks.
That place is a hive of terrorists who do nothing but attack Israel – with Iran’s support.
Israel was right to go into Jenin. And Joe Biden is wrong to support creating more Jenins. That’s exactly what a new Iran deal would do.
But the worst part of a new Iran deal is that it guarantees Iran will get a nuclear weapon.
Joe Biden should know that. It says a lot that he doesn’t.
You might have seen that I have called for mental competency tests for politicians who are over the age of 75.
It’s a very basic test that most would pass. But Joe Biden’s pursuit of a new Iran deal is the best proof yet that he would fail!
Israel’s survival hangs in the balance.
The ayatollahs have promised to destroy Israel – many times. We have to take them at their word.
Make no mistake: Israel will act before that happens. It will do what it’s always done and protect itself from annihilation. It must do that.
The Biden administration should support Israel.
But if it does not, then Israel should do itself and the rest of the world a favor.
I hope it doesn’t come to that, but if it does, then Israel should end the Iranian nuclear program – once and for all.
America has a duty to support Israel.
But we also have a deeper duty to ourselves.
The only way we’ll stand with Israel is if we first stand for America.
There’s a reason we’ve come to this dangerous place.
There’s an explanation why our bipartisan consensus on Israel is falling apart.
Too many of our fellow citizens have forgotten the principles that bind us together. We’ve lost trust in each other, and we’ve lost faith in God.
We need to regain our pride and patriotism. And we need to remember… God is just getting started with America.
I firmly believe we’ll come through this difficult time. We always have. I’ve seen it throughout my own life.
Thank God for the great men and women in our military.
Michael’s service reminds me of America’s special role. And my time at the U.N. reminded me of our nation’s exceptionalism, too.
One day stands out among the rest.
It was the day I stood on the Simon Bolivar bridge between Colombia and Venezuela, watching thousands of Venezuelans holding their children, walking for hours in the hot sun to get the one meal they might have that day.
They were coming from a land of socialist tyranny where people were killing zoo animals for food. I stood there for what seemed like hours. The flow of people never stopped.
When I left the bridge, I went to a nearby shelter where the Venezuelans were gathering. You won’t be surprised that it was run by a church.
I met with some of the refugees and hugged them. Then more and more families started to gather around.
I didn’t get it. Why were they flocking to someone they’d never met?
Then it hit me. They didn’t care who I was. They cared where I was from.
In me, they saw America, and in America, they saw hope.
It’s up to us to renew that hope, for our country’s sake, and for the sake of Israel.
I believe, with all my heart, that we’re up to the challenge. And like all of you, I look to the Bible for inspiration.
We will fight the good fight… we will keep the faith… and yes, my friends… we will finish, and win, the race.
Thank you. God bless you – God bless Israel – and God bless America.