President Trump Presents The Presidential Medal of Freedom To Former AG Edwin Meese | Video | RealClearPolitics

President Trump Presents The Presidential Medal of Freedom To Former AG Edwin Meese

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Mark Levin, who served under Edwin Messe, also speaks.

Messe's remarks:





ED MEESE, FMR. ATTORNEY GENERAL: 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 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 dash make a great privilege that I appreciate very much, and appreciate all that you have 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 are in--in Congress here not so many years ago. And it was great to have known you and followed your career also. I think even 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. I also--

(APPLAUSE)

--I also want to mention Bill Barr. And I thank you, Bill, for this. You and I started to 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--

(LAUGHTER)

--So, it's even better to wish you well and in the fine work you're doing.

(APPLAUSE)

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 or it would take up the rest of the afternoon. But so many of them and so many who I have appreciated the chance to work with as I look around, and really am--am very honored that you would all come out 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, of over 60 years, who is with me today and who is my best friend, a partner in everything I have done, and a great teammate. Particularly I attribute to her the handsome family of kids we have here.

(LAUGHTER)

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 Meeses.

(LAUGHTER)

And--and so, it's--it's a great, great honor to have them here.

You spoke about my--the privilege that I had a 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--or appointed to serve under his leadership for 30 years, from 1967 when I first served, as you pointed out, as his legal affairs secretary to 1997, when he went into the social--to total security--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 Americans Foundation. They now have taken over his ranch in Santa Barbara, and I have the privilege of serving as the cochairman 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--and 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 30 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 it has been Ken Cribb, who is here today. And he is--

(APPLAUSE)

--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 who joined me in--in the Department of Justice, to people, actually, that are here today that I want to mention. One is Mark Levin. This was before he became famous.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

He was just kind of a young--mild young--

(LAUGHTER)

--You know, easygoing young man.

(LAUGHTER)

And we're happy to have him here with his wife, Julie (PH).

And a third one was Becky Dunlop, who was in the Department of Justice with me and did a terrific job.

(APPLAUSE)

So, it's great to have them. And of course, Bob McEwen, who is here, has been an--and advisor and a helper to me in the conservative movement, and an--and inspiration as well as--is 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 19--the end of 1988, I was privileged to be asked to join the Heritage family, and under Kay's leadership and Kim Holmes (PH) and--and now today with John Malcolm heading up the legal center with Bridget Wagner (PH), who is here. Becky was with us there. We've had a--just had a--a great time of--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's--I'm very grateful to--to all of those people that are here. I also am grateful to another guest, our pastor, Pastor Bill Byer--Bill Mann. Bill Mann has been a great spiritual leader for our family, and I'm grateful very much for that.

I'm just--as I say, there are so many things to be grateful for today. And I--the only thing that I would do, Mr. President, is mention a couple of things that particularly are meaningful to me. You've done so many things, but there are three things that are 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 for decades. And I am 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 report before this august buddy--body. And there's no group that needed that encouragement more on that particular subject.

(LAUGHTER)

And finally, I am grateful and Ursula is 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 the resources that they need, but you 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 that their families can see the dignity that you appreciate in the work that our military folks are doing it.

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.

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