Joni Ernst

Remarks at CPAC 2016 - March 3, 2016

Joni Ernst
March 03, 2016— Washington, D.C
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God bless you all.

Good morning! How's it going today? Good morning, everyone. My name is Joni Ernst. I have the great honor of serving the people of Iowa in the United States Senate. I have also had the privilege of serving all of you for the past 23 years in the Iowa Army National Guard and the Army Reserve.

It's wonderful to be with you today, and thanks to all of you who have traveled near and far to come to this event and join us. There are so many important speeches, panels and discussions that will take course over the next few days, and you are an important part of that. Your voice is very important to us right now, so thank you so much for being here.

I grew up on a farm in a small town in southwest Iowa, and my parents instilled in my brother, my sister and in me the importance of hard work, of service and of sacrifice. We worked hard for what we had and when our day was done we helped our neighbors – those that needed an extra hand – because that's what Iowans do. And that's not unique to just Iowa. That's what Americans do. We help when others call us.

So many Americans across this great nation work tirelessly day in and day out to help grow a vibrant economy so their kids and grandkids can have more opportunity. And so many courageous men and women fight to ensure the United States remains a strong and stabilizing force around the globe.

In fact, if I could just take a brief moment to ask any veterans in the room to please stand or raise your hand if you can't stand, and I'm going to ask everyone else to honor these veterans. God bless you all. God bless you all.

Unfortunately, as many of you know, our nation's ability to lead is in jeopardy. I hear from folks constantly who are concerned about what's going on overseas – and rightfully so. The reality is we have significant issues right now that are not being addressed. When I listened to our allies around the world, they expressed their concern that America is no longer leading. The question I have heard time and time again is, Where is America's leadership? Where is it?

They see us shrinking from our place in the world and failing to address growing threats. They are looking for an American leader that is willing to stand up and say enough is enough.

Why are they crying out for leadership? Why are we crying out for leadership?

Because more and more, we see threats to our homeland. Threats that have been magnified by the failure of this administration to stand tall, recognize the threats that are facing us and to destroy ISIS.

As the San Bernardino attacks proved, this is not just some JV force in the Middle East. ISIS is present in all 50 states according to the FBI. Think about that for a moment – in every single one of our fifty states. It is so very alarming, yet I know that we can and must do better.

How? Well, we must first answer that lingering question. Where is American leadership? We've all got to come together, rise up and find the type of conservative leadership that will confront the very real and dangerous threats America faces in today's world.

The reality is the world is in turmoil. Unfortunately President Obama does not seem to want to face that fact. It's easier to ignore the problem than to face it head on.

And let me give you a quick example, let me give you a quick example. Russia. Russia's taking advantage of our lack of leadership in Europe and the Middle East right now. Over the past seven years, the Obama-Clinton foreign policy strategy has been to give ground to Vladimir Putin from Ukraine to Syria. To retreat from making tough choices in the defense of American interests and our national security. Even when there's a cessation of hostilities in Syria, Russia is allowed to continue with its bombing. How do they get away with this? No leadership.

So Russia continues to barrel-bomb not only the innocent Syrian population but also those moderate Syrian rebels that the United States has been backing and have been fighting against the Bashar Al-Assad regime. In other words, the U.S. is allowing Russia to bomb the people that we have been funding and arming that are actually fighting for what we want.

It doesn't make sense, folks, and we must change course. We must.

There are a number of threats out there. We have terrorism in the form of ISIS and other radicalized groups. We have Vladimir Putin, who continues to exude undue influence in Syria, in Iraq, and of course now throughout Europe. We have North Korea, an unpredictable enemy and who knows what they are going to do next. And we have many other adversaries and challenges looking right at us in this new twenty-first century world.

All this to say, I know there is a better way forward. We need a commander-in-chief who will stand up and destroy ISIS. We need a commander-in-chief who will put America back in a position of leadership and strength. We need a commander-in-chief who will help our allies and protect our national security.

And the great news is that we have that opportunity this year in 2016. We need to make it happen. We have extraordinary Republican candidates across the board who are articulating their vision to get our country growing again and to ensure America remains a strong, stabilizing force around the globe. We cannot afford to have a president or those who have served in his administration whose wayward policies in the Middle East have led to the strengthening of terrorists. ISIS continues to grow and expand while the President fails to put forward a comprehensive strategy to destroy them.

Now is the time to stand up and make our voices heard. Each one of you – every single one of you here today – has an important role to play. We all have this opportunity this year. I hope you will join me and ensure that we take this opportunity in 2016 to nominate a strong, conservative leader who will defeat Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. That's right, that's right.

This is our time to stand up and fight for the security of our children and our grandchildren. This is the time to stand up not only for our country but to help our allies and illustrate our nation's true strength and leadership for other countries as well.

Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you and God bless all of you and God bless these great United States of America. Thank you. God bless you.

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