Ted Cruz – Liberty University Convocation
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Ted Cruz – Liberty University Convocation

November 20, 2019


>>JERRY FALWELL: We’re honored to have with
us a very special guest: Senator Ted Cruz from Texas. I was on the Gulf Coast with my
family for a short vacation about ten days ago when I was contacted by a representative
of Senator Cruz, expressing his desire to spend this historic day in his life at Liberty
University. I was thrilled and honored that Senator Cruz held Liberty in such high esteem.
We immediately called the office of the governor of Virginia who had been scheduled to speak
and informed them that Senator Cruz would be sharing the stage with the governor this
morning. David Nasser and I also offered to move Senator Cruz’s speech to later in the
afternoon as a second option. The governor’s office graciously explained that Governor
McAuliffe had an important message that he wanted to deliver to you, the students of
Liberty University, and that he preferred to do it on another day without these distractions.
We’re looking forward to the governor’s visit, and are working to reschedule it as soon as
possible. Your warm reception of Senator Cruz when he spoke here last year was instrumental
in his decision to choose to come here and address you first. As you know, Liberty University
does not support or oppose candidates for public office and Senator Cruz’s appearance
here should not be interpreted by any as an endorsement of his candidacy. We are proud
that we can offer a platform at Liberty where our students are able to hear regularly about
public policy issues and ideas from public servants at the highest levels. Born into
a working-class family after his father had escaped Cuba during the Communist Revolution
in 1957, Ted’s call into public service was inspired by his own family’s pursuit of the
American Dream. After graduating from Princeton and then Harvard Law School, Ted became the
first Hispanic to ever clerk for a justice of the US Supreme Court. In 2003 he became
the Solicitor General of Texas, the youngest in the country at that time. He left only
after becoming the longest-serving Solicitor General in the history of Texas, achieving
an unprecedented series of landmark national victories before the US Supreme Court. Elected
to the US Senate following a tremendously successful grass-roots campaign that the Washington
Post called the biggest upset of 2012, Ted quickly became recognized as one of the strongest,
most principled Conservative leaders in the country, and while many in the Senate bend
to the tremendous pressure to compromise, Ted has been one of the few voices fighting
to protect the freedoms that our forefathers fought and died to secure. It is easy to lead
the charge when you have an army at your back, but I’ve watched as Senator Cruz dared to
stand on principle while only a handful of senators were standing behind him. Ted Cruz
has gone against the tide, has taken the road less traveled and has proven himself to be
a man of great character. Today, Ted arrives on our campus with his wife Heidi and their
two young daughters, Caroline and Catherine, all of whom we are honored to have with us
today. So please join me in welcoming back to Liberty University Senator Ted Cruz.>>TED CRUZ: Thank you so much, President Falwell.
God bless Liberty University. I am thrilled to join you today at the largest Christian
university in the world. Today I want to talk with you about the promise of America. Imagine
your parents when they were children. Imagine a little girl growing up in Wilmington, Delaware
during World War II; the daughter of Irish and Italian Catholic family, working-class,
her uncle ran numbers in Wilmington. She grew up with dozens of cousins because her mom
was the second youngest of seventeen kids. She had a difficult father, a man who drank
far too much and frankly didn’t think that women should be educated, and yet this young
girl, pretty and shy, was driven, was bright, was inquisitive, and she became the first
person in her family ever to go to college. In 1956, my mom, Eleanor, graduated from Rice
University with a degree in math, and became a pioneering computer programmer in the 1950s
and 1960s. Imagine a teenage boy, not much younger than many of you here today, growing
up in Cuba. Jet-black hair, skinny as a rail, involved in Student Council, and yet Cuba
was not at a peaceful time. The dictator, Batista, was corrupt, he was oppressive, and
this teenage boy joins a revolution. He joins a revolution against Batista. He begins fighting
with other teenagers to free Cuba from the dictator. This boy, at age seventeen, finds
himself thrown in prison, finds himself tortured and beaten, and then at age eighteen, he flees
Cuba. He comes to America. Imagine for a second the hope that was in his heart as he rode
that ferry boat across to Key West and got on a Grey Hound bus to head to Austin, Texas
to begin working washing dishes making fifty cents an hour, coming to the one land on earth
that has welcomed so many millions. When my dad came to America in 1957 he could not have
imagined what lay in store for him. Imagine a young married couple living together in
the 1970s. Neither one of them has a personal relationship with Jesus. They have a little
boy, and they’re both drinking far too much; they’re living a fast life. When I was three,
my father decided to leave my mother and me. We were living in Calgary at the time; he
got on a plane and flew back to Texas, and he decided he didn’t want to be married anymore,
and he didn’t want to be a father to his three-year-old son. And yet when he was in Houston a friend,
a colleague from the oil and gas business invited him to a Bible study, invited him
to Clay Road Baptist Church, and there my father gave his life to Jesus Christ. And
God transformed his heart, and he drove to the airport, he bought a plane ticket, and
he flew back to be with my mother and me. There are people who wonder if faith is real;
I can tell you in my family there’s not a second of doubt because were it not for the
transformative love of Jesus Christ I would not have been saved and I would have been
raised by a single mom without my father in the household. Imagine another little girl
living in Africa, in Kenya and Nigeria–it’s a diverse crowd–playing with kids, they spoke
Swahili, she spoke English. Coming back to California, where her parents who had been
missionaries in Africa raised her on the Central Coast. She starts a small business when she’s
in grade school baking bread. She calls it Heidi’s Bakery. She and her brother compete
baking bread. They bake thousands of loaves of bread and go to the local apple orchard
where they sell the bread to people coming to pick apples. She goes on to a career in
business, excelling and rising to the highest pinnacles, and then Heidi becomes my wife
and my very best friend in the world. Heidi becomes an incredible mom to our two precious
little girls, Caroline and Catherine, the joys and loves of our life. Imagine another
teenage boy being raised in Houston, hearing stories from his dad about prison and torture
in Cuba, hearing stories about how fragile liberty is, beginning to study the United
States Constitution, learning about the incredible protections we have in this country that protect
the God-given liberty of every American, experiencing challenges at home. The mid-1980s, oil prices
crater and his parents businesses go bankrupt. Heading off to school over a thousand miles
away from home, in a place where he knew nobody, where he was alone and scared, and his parents
going through bankruptcy meant there was no financial support at home, so at the age of
17, he went to get two jobs to help pay his way through school. He took out over $100,000
dollars in school loans, loans I suspect a lot of you all can relate to, loans that I’ll
point out I just paid off a few years ago. These are all of our stories. These are who
we are as Americans. And yet, for so many Americans, the promise of America seems more
and more distant. What is the promise of America? The idea that–the
revolutionary idea–that this country was founded upon, which is that our rights, they
don’t come from man. They come from God Almighty. And that the purpose of the Constitution,
as Thomas Jefferson put it, is to serve as chains to bind the “mischief of government.”
The incredible opportunity of the American dream, what has enabled millions of people
from all over the world to come to America with nothing and to achieve anything. And
then the American exceptionalism that has made this nation a clarion voice for freedom
in the world, a shining city on a hill. That’s the promise of America. That is what makes
this nation an indispensable nation, a unique nation in the history of the world, and yet
so many fear that promise is today unattainable. So many fear it is slipping away from our
hands. I want to talk to you this morning about re-igniting the promise of America:
240 years ago on this very day, a thirty-eight year-old lawyer named Patrick Henry stood
up just a hundred miles from here in Richmond, Virginia and said, “Give me liberty or give
me death.” I want to ask each of you to imagine, imagine millions of courageous conservatives,
all across America, rising up together to say in unison “we demand our liberty.”
Today, roughly half of born-again Christians aren’t voting. They’re staying home. Imagine
instead, millions of people of faith all across America coming out to the polls and voting
our values. Today millions of young people are scared,
worried about the future, worried about what the future will hold. Imagine millions of
young people coming together and standing together, saying, “We will stand for liberty.”
Think just how different the world would be. Imagine instead of economic stagnation, booming
economic growth. Instead of small businesses going out of business in record numbers, imagine
small businesses growing and prospering. Imagine young people coming out of school with four,
five, six job offers. Imagine innovation thriving on the Internet as government regulators and
tax collectors are kept at bay and more and more opportunity is created. Imagine America
finally becoming energy self-sufficient as millions and millions of high-paying jobs
are created. Five years ago today, the president signed Obamacare into law. Within hours, Liberty
University went to court filing a lawsuit to stop that failed law. Instead of the joblessness,
instead of the millions forced into part-time work, instead of the millions who’ve lost
their health insurance, lost their doctors, have faced skyrocketing health insurance premiums,
imagine in 2017 a new president signing legislation repealing every word of Obamacare. Imagine
health care reform that keeps the government out of the way between you and your doctor
and that makes health insurance personal and portable and affordable. Instead of a tax
code that crushes innovation, that imposes burdens on families struggling to make ends
meet, imagine a simple flat tax
that lets every American fill out his or her taxes on a postcard. Imagine abolishing the
IRS. Instead of the lawlessness and the president’s unconstitutional executive amnesty, imagine
a president that finally, finally, finally secures the borders, and imagine a legal immigration
system that welcomes and celebrates those who come to achieve the American dream. Instead
of a federal government that wages an assault on our religious liberty, that goes after
Hobby Lobby, that goes after the Little Sisters of the Poor, that goes after Liberty University,
imagine a federal government that stands for the First Amendment rights of every American.
Instead of a federal government that works to undermine our values, imagine a federal
government that works to defend the sanctity of human life and to uphold the sacrament
of marriage. Instead of a government that works to undermine our Second Amendment rights,
that seeks to ban our ammunition, imagine a federal government that protects the right
to keep and bear arms of all law-abiding Americans. Instead of a government that seizes your e-mails
and your cell phones, imagine a federal government that protected the privacy rights of every
American. Instead of a federal government that seeks to dictate school curriculum through
Common Core, imagine repealing every word of Common Core. Imagine embracing school choice
as the civil rights issue of the next generation, that every single child, regardless of race,
regardless of ethnicity, regardless of wealth or ZIP code, every child in America has the
right to a quality education. And that’s true from all of the above, whether it is
at public schools, or charter schools, or private schools, or Christian schools, or
parochial schools, or home schools–every child. Instead of a president who boycotts
Prime Minister Netanyahu, imagine a president who stands unapologetically with the nation
of Israel. Instead of a president who seeks to go to the United Nations to run Congress
and the American people, imagine a president who says, “I will honor the Constitution,
and under no circumstances will Iran be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon.” Imagine a
president who says “We will stand up and defeat radical Islamic terrorism, and we will
call it by its name.” “We will defend the United States of America.” Now, all
of these seem difficult, indeed to some they may seem unimaginable, and yet if you look
at the history of our country, imagine it’s 1775, and you and I were sitting there in
Richmond listening to Patrick Henry say, “Give me liberty or give me death.” Imagine it’s
1776 and we were watching the 54 signers of the Declaration of Independence stand together
and pledge their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to igniting the promise
of America. Imagine it was 1777 and we were watching General Washington as he lost battle,
after battle, after battle in the freezing cold as his soldiers with no shoes were dying,
fighting for freedom against the most powerful army in the world. That, too, seemed unimaginable.
Imagine it’s 1933 and we were listening to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt tell
America at a time of crushing depression, at a time of a gathering storm abroad, that
we have nothing to fear but fear itself. Imagine it’s 1979 and you and I were listening to
Ronald Reagan, and he was telling us that we would cut the top marginal tax rates from
70 percent all the way down to 28 percent, that we would go from crushing stagnation
to booming economic growth, to millions being lifted out of poverty and into prosperity
and abundance. That the very day that he was sworn in, our hostages who were languishing
in Iran, would be released. And that within a decade we would win the Cold War and tear
the Berlin Wall to the ground. That would have seemed unimaginable, and yet, with the
grace of God, that’s exactly what happened. From the dawn of this country, at every stage,
America has enjoyed God’s providential blessing. Over and over again, when we faced impossible
odds, the American people rose to the challenge. You know, compared to that, repealing Obamacare
and abolishing the IRS ain’t all that tough. The power of the American people when we rise
up and stand for liberty knows no bounds. God’s blessing has been on America from
the very beginning of this nation, and I believe God isn’t done with America yet. I believe
in you. I believe in the power of millions of courageous conservatives rising up to reignite
the promise of America, and that is why today I am announcing that I’m running for president
of the United States. It is a time for truth. It is a time for liberty.
It is a time to reclaim the Constitution of the United States. I am honored to stand with
each and every one of you courageous conservatives as we come together to reclaim the promise
of America, to reclaim the mandate, the hope and opportunity for our children and our children’s
children. We stand together for liberty. This is our fight. The answer will not come from
Washington; it will come only from the men and women across this country, from men and
women, from people of faith, from lovers of liberty, from people who respect the Constitution.
It will only come as it has come at every other time of challenge in this country, when
the American people stand together and say we will get back to the principles that have
made this country great. We will get back and restore that shining city on a hill that
is the United States of America. Thank you and God bless you.>>DAVID NASSER: Can we thank the senator
one more time? Let’s give him a hand and just thank him for being here. Real quickly,
let’s pray together. Can we do that? Let’s have a word of prayer together. Father, thank
you for this great land, this country called America. Lord, thank you for the freedom that
it affords us. Father, thank you for a godly man who would first recognize that leadership
begins at your feet. We pray for him, his family, Lord. We pray that you would guide
them, protect them, give them wisdom, give them discernment. God, we pray for rest in
the next few months. I can’t even imagine, Lord, the pressure that will be on this family
and this team, and so we pray, Father, just for grace, and peace. We love you, Jesus.
Thank you for dying on the cross for us. Thank you for the salvation that you bring us. We
pray this in your name. Amen. God bless you, students. Thank you.

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