Trump Presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Edwin Meese


thank you very much and I want to thank everybody for being here this is a very special event today it’s my tremendous privilege to present our nation’s highest civilian honor to a absolute Titan of American alone a heroic defender of the American Constitution former counselor to the President and Attorney General of the United States ed meese very special man and congratulations on receiving a really incredible award this is something that we have the Congressional Medal of Honor and we have the Presidential Medal of Freedom and this is something that’s very special for me to present it to you I’ve heard so many incredible things over the years about you so congratulations my honor to be with you we’re delighted to be joined by Vice President Mike Pence Attorney General William bar bill acting OMB director Russ watt and Harridge foundation president Kay call James hiking also he did a good job didn’t he also with us is Ed’s terrific family his wife of 61 years along with his children grandchildren and his great grandson Liam I know you huh he grabbed me I said I like this guy good thank you for being here ed meese was born into a deeply patriotic family committed to public service his father worked in local government for five decades including many years as police court clerk his dad stores I mean and he had some incredible stories from what I was told his stories of serving the people of Oakland inspired Ed’s lifetime of passion and his law enforcement career was unparalleled after graduating from Yale in 1953 and attended the University of California at Berkeley law school and served two years of active duty in the United States Army he remained in the reserves for another two and a half decades retiring as a colonel in 1984 I didn’t know that it that was pretty good right Eadie married Ursula the love of his life in 1958 and they wanted me to say that and he meant it truly the love of his life that’s a beautiful thing he then became Deb District Attorney of Alameda County California the same County where he had grown up he regularly rode with local police on patrol one officer later said about it finding someone around here who doesn’t like ed meese is like trying to find a four-year-old who doesn’t like Santa Claus so in other words he was a popular guy when chaos and violence broke out on the campus of UC Berkeley ed was instrumental restoring order peace and Public Safety in 1966 still the deputy district attorney of his native County it was introduced to governor-elect Ronald Reagan for the first time at the end of a 30-minute one-on-one meeting the new governor offered ed a job he said this guy has the potential to be great ed joined the administration as legal affairs secretary and quickly earned Governor Reagan’s trust just two years later he became chief of staff in that position Edie worked tirelessly to serve the people of California he helped negotiate the first major welfare reform in the nation fought for the governor’s legislative priority and helped propel Ronald Reagan onto a national stage and it was a stage that was a truly great one he became a great president after governor Reagan narrowly lost the 1976 presidential primary campaign Edie joined the faculty of San Diego University Law School became the founding director of its Center for criminal justice policy and management in 1980 and became a key leader in Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign and Ed knew that was going to happen it was just a question of time after Reagan’s victory that November he oversaw the presidential transition in the new administration Edie was appointed counselor to the president that was the only White House staff member included in President Reagan’s cabinet in that position he drove sweeping reforms of the executive branch and ensured the departments worked together to achieve the administration’s goals and he was a star Edie was among President Reagan’s closest advisors as the administration implemented tax cuts a dramatic defense build-up and a relentless campaign to defeat communism it helped spearhead an initiative to fight organized crime and public corruption supported a task force on victims of crime and shared the first White House meeting on missile defense that led to the Strategic Defense Initiative a strategy that helped win the Cold War in 1984 President Reagan nominated ed Meese to be Attorney General we have our Attorney General with us and he’s also doing a great job I will tell you that in the course of a grueling nomination process he showed incredible grace and grit the Democrats tried to derail his nomination but ed stayed strong and after 13 months he was finally confirmed that sounds like the kind of things we go through you know if you get if you win by one vote today it’s like considered a landslide that sounds no different boy things don’t change very much do they do they K I don’t think so over the next three years edie would deliver a monumental change for the American people as attorney general IDI led the battle against drugs he aggressively targeted traffickers and their assets he also chaired the National Drug Policy Board and coordinated the administration’s response to the drug crisis in the years that followed the strategy proved successful between 1982 and 1992 drug use by young adults plummeted by 50 percent nationwide would you like to make a comeback that’s a pretty good you know we’ve we’ve got it down 18% but I like 50% better but we’re dealing with a whole new set of drugs unfortunately it’s getting it’s a very tough situation perhaps Ed’s greatest contribution to American law has been his unwavering advocacy for the legal principle the judges must adhere to the original meaning of the Constitution setting aside their own personal and political views through the decades has been one of the most eloquent champions for following the Constitution as written to ensure fidelity to our founding documents IDI supported the growth of the Federalist Society and work to confirm supremely qualified judges including the late great Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia whose son just became the secretary you know that Secretary of Labor gene just had him in and was great ceremony we had after concluding a historic tenure as attorney general ed joined the Heritage Foundation over his 30 years at Heritage he helped create the Foundation’s legal and judicial studies department which is now named in his honor and we’re talking about judges and I will say Heritage has been very helpful with us also as you know and I just had on that desk a little while ago another six and will be up two very soon about a hundred and eighty two federal judges and two Supreme Court judges that’s not including two Supreme Torico so we really we really have it’s it’s a number that few people have been able to even come close to so it’s great we appreciate all the work you’ve done to it as advocated for effective law enforcement against over criminalization and as always in defense of the Constitution and the system of government designed by our founders and you are a loyal fighter for freedom a champion of law and order mentor to young Americans and faithful defender of our Republic you are an inspiration to Liberty loving citizens everywhere you’re just an inspiration period everybody that knows you uses that word you’re an inspiration on behalf of the grateful nation that I love and that we serve I want to thank you I want to thank you for your incredible lifetime of exceptional service and of devotion to our country and I just want to say to your family that this is an extraordinary man and I looked at all of your wonderful children and grandchildren and your great grandson and and you I’m especially talking about you you have very good genes just remember the president you have great genes between the two of them okay great genes so it is now my honor to ask the military aide to come forward and present ed wouldn’t miss the third with the Presidential Medal of Freedom thank you congratulations edwin meese the third has long been thought a thought leader and strong conservative voice on matters of law and policy that’s counselor to President Ronald Reagan mr. Meese helped to craft a foreign policy strong enough to help end the Cold War and played a pivotal role in helping to secure historic tax cuts as Attorney General he promoted federalism and the original public understanding of our Constitution since leaving public service edwin meese has continued to champion our nation’s founding principles through his extensive work at the Heritage Foundation the United States proudly honors Edwin Meese the third who has dedicated his life to serving our nation and protecting our liberties Thank You mr. president thank you very much both for this very fine award an award which I will cherish obviously forever but also for the kind words that you gave and what you have mentioned but particularly for the privilege of being here with you and to have my family here to meet you and also to listen to this particular ceremony it’s just a great privilege that I appreciate very much and appreciate that all that you’ve done to make us welcome here and as I say for those kind words I’m also very grateful to the vice president for being here mr. vice president you and I have been friends since the day you were in Congress here not so many years ago and it was great to have known you and followed your career also and I think you and the president make one of the finest teams we’ve had in our country and I’m very grateful particularly to have this award coming from the two of you I thank you both I also want to mention bill Barr and I thank you Bill for this you and I started work together in the first term of Ronald Reagan you were in the office of policy development and you have risen to continue the the string of great attorneys general in this country and I certainly appreciate what you’re doing now I must say from my own experience I understand what you’re going through now so it’s even better to wish you well and then the fine work you’re doing mr. president I’m also really honored by the members of your administration who are here today as I look around I see so many good friends here I can’t name them all it would take up the rest of the afternoon but so many of them and so many who’ve I’ve appreciated the chance to work with as I look around and really am very honored that you would all come out had to see this particular ceremony as I stand here today I can’t do anything other than to thank and praise God for the opportunities and the blessings that I’ve received in the course of my life and of course one of the greatest blessings in my life has been my wife as you point out over 60 years who is with me today and who is my best friend a partner in everything I’ve done and a great teammate particularly I attribute to her the Hansen family of kids and also to my whole family the family has been my foundation throughout our married life and it’s just great to see and to be with all of them today and mr. president you you honor me by allowing them to participate in this particular event and you know it’s just great to know that we have here today four generations of visas and and so it’s it’s it’s a great great honor to have them here you spoke about my the privilege that I had working for Ronald Reagan and I will always be indebted to him not only for the honor he did by having me a built honored appointed to serve under his leadership for thirty years from 1967 when I first served as you pointed out as his legal affairs secretary to 1997 when he went in into the social to total security as total isolation really and I had that privilege to work for him in the state of California here as you pointed out obviously in Washington DC and then following that both in the building of his library and then and today I still have the privilege in the young America’s Foundation they now have taken over his ranch in Santa Barbara and I have the privilege of serving as the co chairman of that ranch Board of Governors so Ronald Reagan was a pivotal part of my life and I am always grateful to him but you know the things that you mentioned you were very kind and generous and all that you said the things that you mentioned are something that I could not have done by myself I was always very lucky to have a team of people that I was able to work with and over the period of time I can’t think of better people than anyone could have as teammates and people participating in the work of the United States of America both obviously in my early days but particularly over the last thirty some-odd years as I was privileged to work here in Washington DC one person who has been a friend a counselor literally and also a great team mate has been Ken Cribb who is here today and he is Ken ken has always been there by my side and giving me excellent advice and help and as they say today always having my back and I’m very grateful Ken another person who was with me and it was joined me and in the Department of Justice two people actually that are here today that I want to mention one is Mark Levin this was before he became famous he was just kind of a young mild young you know easygoing young man and we’re happy to have him here with his wife Julie and a third one was Becky Dunlap who was in the Department of Justice with me and did a terrific job so it’s great to have them and of course Bob McEwen who is here has been an advisor and a helper to me in the conservative movement and an inspiration as well as a great teammate and then also it is it is great because as you pointed out when I was privileged when I left the the government in nineteen the end of 1988 I was privileged to be asked to join the Heritage family and under K’s leadership Jim homes and and now today with the John Malcolm heading up the legal center with Bridget Wagner who is here Becky was with us there we’ve had it had just had a great time and a great team of people that I was privileged to work with there it’s been just a great thing for me to have all of these opportunities as I mentioned earlier and it I’m very grateful to to all of those people that are here I also am grateful to another guest our pastor pastor bill buy our bill man bill man has been a great spiritual leader for our family and I’m grateful very much for that I’m just as I say there’s so many things to be grateful for today and I the only thing that I would do mr. president isn’t mentioned a couple of things that particularly are meaningful to me you’ve done so many things but there are three things that have been particularly meaningful you mentioned one of them and that is your commitment to the Constitution and your commitment to making sure that it’s interpreted as it actually reads and for that you have appointed these outstanding judges now which is a monument to justice and the rule of law that will last literally literally four decades and I’m grateful for that the second thing is your emphasis on religious liberty your speech to the United Nations was I believe the first by any president to talk about that subject before this August buddy body and there’s no group that needed that encouragement more on that particular subject and finally I am grateful and Ursula’s grateful because of our family for your support for the armed forces of the United States you have not only given them leadership you’ve given them the resources they need but you’ve gone beyond that you have shown your personal respect for every man and woman in uniform and that’s something that really is not only good for them but also for their families so their families can see the dignity that you appreciate in the work that our military folks are doing all of these things are very important to us and as a result today I couldn’t be happier and I couldn’t be more grateful to any person for what you’ve given us here today thank you sir well you know you’re right about Markey has become a store maybe I’d like to have mark say a few words and the Attorney General say a few words and our vice presidents say a few words could we do that come on up first mark just nice and easy now mark nice well it’s a great honor to be here with two great men president Trump an attorney general Meese and it was an honor to work for you a special assistant than chief of staff through the good the bad and the ugly and you accomplished many many things as Attorney General of the United States and you’ve always been wonderful to my family you and Ursula your family does and you always will be and this is a great honor and I can’t think of a better person to receive it and mr. president I want to thank you I want to thank you for everything you’re doing for this country I’ve known two great presidents Ronald Reagan and you and I’m sorry you’re going through what you’re going through but I want you to know there’s tens of millions of people who stand with you that’s very nice thank you very much bill Mike Thank You mr. president and it really is my great honor to serve alongside this president and to be able to share this moment with you Attorney General Meese and with your wonderful family it is extraordinary to think of the life of consequence that you have lived coming alongside one American president but also being there every step of the way as this president brought forward a vision to rebuild our military revive our economy reground the courts of this country to constitutional principles of limited government and on behalf of the president on behalf of a grateful nation it’s my honor to add my congratulations to you on the Presidential Medal of Freedom congratulations change thank you very much everybody you

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