For the first time, we are hearing our president say “radical Islamist terrorism.” President Trump uttered these words loud and clear during his inaugural speech on January 20, 2017 and he will treat the fight for what it is – a war. Without sugar-coating, his speech marked the end of “leading from behind” and the beginning of “America first.”
As Commander-in-Chief, Trump is now responsible for protecting our people from those who wish to do us harm, and defending our democracy against those who seek to undermine it.
In recent years we have seen terrorism reach our backyard here in Texas. And for years, Americans have demanded that Washington do its job and secure our borders. In 2009, the mass shooting at Fort Hood produced more casualties than any other on an American military base. In 2014, a 23-year-old University of Texas student pleaded guilty of attempting to recruit and support terrorists overseas. Then in 2015, a senseless attack in Garland, outside the city's Curtis Culwell Center, took place where folks had gathered at an event featuring controversial cartoons of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed. They brought the fight to us and now we have a leader who will take bold action and stand with us to fight back.
No one can lead this fight alone, which is why the Trump Administration filled their national security team with tough leaders who have been on the frontlines. They are clear-eyed realists who see threats for what they are, not what they wish they were.
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly – retired Marine Corps General – who has the no-nonsense approach needed to secure our borders and keep terrorists away from our shores.
Defense Secretary James Mattis – retired Marine Corps General – is one of the leading and most revered marines of his generation who can restore our military prowess.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson – a fellow Texan – is the kind of CEO who will do a business-like “turnaround” of the State Department and its broken diplomacy.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo – former Kansas Congressman – who knows the CIA well enough to give our operatives the tools they need to protect us domestically and abroad.
And Vice President Mike Pence recently named my former National Security Advisor, Colonel Andrea Thompson, as his own National Security Advisor. Thompson is a career military intelligence officer whose knowledge on crucial homeland security issues was an invaluable asset to my committee as it will be to the Vice President and Trump Administration.
We’ve had eight years of retreat, and President Trump’s message to the world is that America is back. He has a strong agenda, and Congress will get to work on it. We’ll be rolling back failed policies and pushing forward with efforts to secure the border, build up our military, and go after our enemies.
As Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, I will work closely with the President and his administration to ensure the U.S. government lives up to that solemn responsibility and protects our country. Together, we will make America safe again.