LEBANON, Tennessee – The Tennessee Conservative Convention, commemorating 20 years since the deadliest terrorist attack in America’s history on September 11, 2001, was held Saturday at a large warehouse-type facility on Bridgestone Pike in Lebanon to encourage the restoration of America with a heavy emphasis on faith and freedom.
The near all-day event, attended by hundreds, featured Eric Trump and Lt. Col. Oliver North, along with a number of other political and spiritual leaders as well as musical performances throughout a relatively fast-paced schedule.
The opening ceremonies started with a prayer, presentation of the colors, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the first and fourth verses of the National Anthem sung by State Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver (R-Lancaster).
Retired N.Y.P.D. Detective Investigator Dan Austin gave to a riveted audience a heart-wrenching and somber first-hand account of his experience in the rescue efforts following the collapse of the World Trade Center towers.
In a short video message, U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn was more upbeat as she said that America is the land of faith, family, freedom, hope and opportunity for future generations. Alluding to the drastic change that has occurred with the change in administrations, “Let’s return to an America First agenda and let’s shove this America Last agenda into the dustbin of history.”
Lt. Col. Oliver North was then welcomed by attendees with a standing ovation.
Reflecting on the significance of the day, North said that everyone will remember where they were and who they were with.
He said he knew where he was, which was with the president of his federation on a flight from Detroit to Reagan National Airport, which was diverted to Dulles. By the time they had disembarked, two planes had flown into the twin towers in New York and Flight 93 had been brought down in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, about five miles from where his wife was born.
The taxi he was in stopped at the Roosevelt Bridge over the Potomac, where tens of thousands of people were walking over it to get into Virginia because the Metro was shut down.
“There were Republicans helping Democrats, old people being helped by young people, white and black people helping each other. It didn’t matter. At that moment, we were all Americans at great risk,” said North to applause.
North said that within hours, it was known that the horrific attack was carried out by Al Qaeda. Less than a month later, on October 7, 2001 – his birthday – the counter attack was initiated, teaming up with the Afghan northern alliance.
Twenty years later, and less than a month after the collapse of the Afghanistan central government and evacuation of U.S. personnel and Afghan allies turned to chaos from President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from the country, North gave his perspective.
“This administration has terribly, terribly damaged our country, our credibility around the world and the worst part of all is that the promise that’s made by every military person is leave no person behind and they bungled that, and they shouldn’t have,” North concluded to loud applause.
North went on to a slide presentation, what he called “snippets” from his coverage of the war in Afghanistan.
He said, invariably, when he asked why the servicemen joined, they would say because of 9/11.
He personalized, for audience members, the servicemen as he showed pictures and described how incredibly capable they are with an obvious sense of pride and connection to the soldiers and perhaps to demonstrate that the failure in Afghanistan was not of their doing.
They can operate and maintain the most sophisticated weapons the world has ever known. They’ve been taught chemistry and physics and ballistics. They can use weapons as their body and they can use their body as weapons. They can take a life and save one, because they’ve been so remarkably well trained. The kid who wouldn’t share a candy bar with his big brother, will now give his last drop of water to a comrade, his only MRE to a hungry Afghan kid and give everything he has to accomplish the mission.
Today’s troops are better trained, better equipped, with more combat experience than any military force in history. They became protectors of women and children in a part of the world where that’s a strange idea.
Despite 20 years of war, years of budget cuts and social engineering, we still have the finest military force the world has ever known.
Since 9/11, over 2.8 million Americans the best and bravest of their generation have volunteered to protect us and offered to protect others for the hope of freedom.
The average age is 20 to 25 years of age, when they come into the service, most of them multiple deployments, none in conditions that would be described as pleasant. The enemies are vicious, often suicidal. We saw at the gates at Kabul Airport, 13 Americans became the last U.S. servicemen to be killed in this war. A terrible tragedy that should never have happened.
Every one of us who had been there knew we did not want to stay in Afghanistan forever. What we did want to do is to accomplish the mission and get home safely and unfortunately, this administration failed in their duty and left people behind that should never have been left behind.
The most important about those you see on the screen, is the fact that every one is a volunteer.
He then showed a picture of a group of soldiers huddled together as they were kneeling down in prayer.
“Folks, these are guys who could take rough language and make it an art form – vulgarity. But, they’re not afraid to be seen reading for this book,” North said, as he held up a Bible, “or kneeling down and praying for one another. And that’s what we all have to do.“
North offered a perspective about the other war he was in, the Vietnam War, and the Afghanistan War.
“The war was lost in the corridors of power in Washington, D.C. and that should never happen again.”
When asked if it was a waste, though, North said the answer is no.
“The important thing is for people to know that for 20 years we did not have another attack in America by radical Islamic terrorists sponsored by Afghanistan.”
North said there were two things to get out of his remarks.
“Number one is to pray for the future of our country and number two, get involved in the political process. Run for office and encourage others who want to run.”
North had one criteria for political candidates.
“Make sure they insist on the sanctity of life.”
In a separate and exclusive interview, North told The Tennessee Star many of the same things he shared with the audience. But, in the discussion about supporting candidate, North said the sanctity of life disappeared in 1973 with Roe v. Wade. He said, though, that the decline probably began in 1962, when the Taconic school district in upstate New York that he grew up in was the one that had the prayer that was ruled to be unconstitutional.
North recited the prayer from memory for The Star, “Almighty God, we praise you. We beg your blessings on us, our teachers and our country. Amen,” that they said every day after the Pledge of Allegiance, but was banned.
“It will change things if we the people create a revival in America, with Godly principles, Biblically-based teaching in our schools and the kinds of people that we send to public office who believe what our founders say because it was all based on the words in this book,” North told attendees holding up the Bible again.
North, who will be turning 78 in a couple of weeks, said when he is put in the ground in Arlington, it wouldn’t be about the battles, the medals or even his grandchildren. Instead, he alluded to words from Paul’s second letter.
“At the end of my life, I want to be remembered as Paul wanted to be remembered. We fought the good fight. We finished the race. We kept the faith,” he said, visibly becoming emotional.
“That’s why the motto of the United States Marine Corps is so important to me. Semper fidelis. Always faithful. It’s not just a slogan. It’s a way of life. God bless you,” concluded North to another standing ovation.
Following a short break, the next hour or a little more was a worship session lead by Lebanon-based Music City Baptist Church Pastor Ben Graham.
Worship music was led by Shawn Pody, (no relation to Sen. Mark Pody) who organized the event.
The outspoken, engaging and fasting-talking Pastor Greg Locke of Global Vision Bible Church in Mt. Juliet that has been visited by CNN seven times in the past 18 months with cameras because he kept his church open during COVID, gave a rousing sermon.
“I read the back of the book, and it does not end with the words, ‘oh, me.’ It ends with the words ‘Amen.’ And we win in the end, ladies and gentlemen, there is no doubt about that.”
“But you better know that America one day may fall, but it is not going to fall to a fraudulent Biden administration. I tell you, God is here to revive this nation. We are going to save this nation for our children. And I believe the first line of defense is not trying to save America politically. I believe it’s going to save America prophetically, because the churches in America are going to have to rise up and say enough is enough. And men of God are going to have to stop playing cowards and be men of God. If you believe that, shout Amen in the house,” roared the firebrand Locke.
What COVID has taught, Locke said, is that because he did not close, his church has outgrown its 300 seats into a 3,000 seat tent and 1,500 have been baptized.
Traveling across the country, Locke said he has been delivering the message that “They’re not just taking our freedoms, we are giving them our freedoms. And, it’s time that the men of God be the men of God that God has called them to be and stand up and be the leaders in their community.”
He said people are starving for leadership, truth and for “a John the Baptist Voice in the wilderness” who is willing to have his head cut off.
Pointing out that no one remembers the name of who cut off the head of John the Baptist for preaching for Jesus and against corrupt politics, “because if we don’t call out corrupt politics and politicians, we’re not going to have a platform from which to preach about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
“The people trying to silence us will never be remembered by history. But those of us that stand, will never be forgotten and we’ll leave a legacy to our children’s, children, children and we will be used by God’s kingdom to save this nation. There is no doubt about that.”
“There are more of us than there are of them. We the people are still the people.”
Locke’s most rousing moment came, though, when he talked about Paul Revere warning that the redcoats are coming. Locke, animating his getting on a horse, galloped around the stage shouting, “Jesus is coming, Jesus is coming, Jesus is coming, Jesus is coming. I ain’t going to be silent!”
A video by Dr. Alan Keyes, who was unable to attend, was just as eloquent as he is in person.
Keyes said the very existence of our country is being threatened and just like the lives that were taken on 9/11, our rights, the foundations of our liberty, are being taken away.
“The very thing that we committed ourselves to in the wake of 9/11,” Keyes said, “turns into a debacle in which we have essentially surrendered the purpose for which we went to Afghanistan in the first place.”
He questioned why we didn’t remember the connection between 9/11 and Afghanistan and that our troops were there to “secure ourselves and all those who love liberty against a rapacious, murderous intent of terrorists.”
“What we saw over the course of the last couple of weeks of the so-called withdrawal which was actually a humiliating surrender by President Biden and the Biden administration,” said Keyes.
Normally, one doesn’t commemorate the day of which enemies commit slaughter. The only way to commemorate, Keyes said, is to bring an end to the danger and ensure that it will never happen again.
“We should remember those we lost on 9/11 by living out what we must do in order to make sure that no such thing ever happens again. Is this what we are doing? This is a question we need to ponder forever as we consider the terrible cost we have paid for the success of our enemies on this fateful day,” concluded Keyes.
Pastor Artur Pawlowski of the Fortress (Cave) Adullam of Adullam Church in Alberta, Calgary is a native of Poland who grew up behind the Iron Curtain and has been issued 330 tickets and had 100 court cases for keeping his church and a soup kitchen open. He is now facing up to four years in prison for these “crimes.”
Pawlowski used colorful analogies of hyenas, lions and ankle-biting chihuahuas, to communicate the greatness of America that it is not living up to.
“I think Americans have forgotten what is their destiny,” said Pawlowski.
“America has to bring God back to America,” is the one solution, said Pawlowski.
In a selfie-styled, obviously un-scripted video taken outdoors with a flag waving in the background, General Michael Flynn said a few words.
“If there was ever a time for prayer it is now,” said Flynn.
He also pointed out, though, there is also a time after prayer to stand up and get involved.
“This is a historic time to be alive and now is the time to be involved in your communities, if you’ve never been involved before – whether it’s your faith-based community, whether it’s your political community, whether it’s your education community – whatever it is that you do, whatever talents that you have, whatever God-given skills and common sense that you have been given, we now have a responsibility to step up and stand up for our country.”
“God bless you all. I know you will benefit from spending the weekend in prayer. And I just want to say God bless America and especially all the souls from 9/11 all the way through these last 20 years who gave their lives so we can continue to live in freedom. God bless you,”
Australian Pastor Tony Gunter issued a wake-up call when he said 9/11 was not an event or a bad day, it was the beginning of something that’s still going on.
“Who would ever have thought 20 years later that we’d actually have the enemy occupying congressional seats and parliamentary seats back in Australia?” Gunter questioned.
“Who would ever have thought they’d infiltrate the oval office?”
“The enemy has a philosophy. It’s referred to as the patience of a spider.”
“No one could have imagined the global scope of the deep state, or planned the depth of its evil. No one could have imagined software and hard hearts that would steal a U.S. election, or a media and politicians with zero integrity and zero love for their country,” Gunter said.
As retired law enforcement, Gunter said for the past 25 years he has been telling people that Australia – technically ahead of most trends and geographically distanced from the rest of the world – would serve as the test bed for world government.
“If you want to see what Biden has in store for you, just look at Australia. The evidence is mounting every day.”
He offered hope, “through this book,” Gunter said as he held up a Bible.
Gunter said there are 4,200 religions in the world, “4,000 of them in California,” he joked.
“But there is only one empty tomb. Ladies and gentlemen, I can tell you, He didn’t stay dead, and He won’t stay gone,”
“Eternity is the wrong thing to be wrong about.”
Gunter said Jesus commended only man for his faith – the Roman centurion – and at no point did Jesus ask him to leave the military and lay down his weapon.
“You have a Second Amendment. We don’t,” said Gunter, continuing with his question.
“How tyrannical, how corrupt, how destructive does the media and the government have to get before somebody says that’s enough?”
He said that as that question is pondered, to think about the rows of white crosses at Arlington or the fields in France, as he concluded through tears.
“God bless you. God bless America.”
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who couldn’t be there in person, recorded a brief video message.
It was 20 years ago this weekend that our country was rocked by the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and, of course, by the shocking crash of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Our lives were forever changed. It was a seminal moment in America. We all remember where we were, what we were doing and the details of that day are vivid and seared into our brain cells. We remember how vulnerable we felt as a nation. We also remember how very much we felt together as a nation. In the days that followed, there were no Democrats or Republicans or Independents. We were just Americans. We proudly flew a flag of the United States and no one took them. People sang hymns. They prayed. They wept. They grieved. It brought us to our knees in a different kind of way. It brought us to our knees in prayer and repentance. I hope it doesn’t take another 9/11 to remind us how vulnerable and weak we are, and how strong God is. I pray for those who have given their lives for freedom, our way of life. Thank God for them. Let us never forget the lessons of 9/11.
Graham, in wrapping up the worship portion of the program, said there is a link between removing God from our schools, from public places and even from a lot of church houses, and “that’s why we’re in the mess we’re in today.”
With regard to “the separation of church and state,” Graham reminded that the worst thing that can happen to a church is to lose their tax-exempt status.
“So, we have to pay taxes like everybody else,” Graham pointed out. “Big whoop!”
“I believe that it is more important that we obey God rather than man,” said Graham.
“We ought to make no mistake about it. The people of God have always been unequally powered in impacting the world,” said Graham.
As part of his talk, Graham reviewed, both from references in the Bible as well as U.S. history, how Christians have had such impact.
Graham reminded that in the Supreme Court case Church of the Holy Trinity vs. United States in 1892, “it held that this is a Christian nation, and that the meaning is that we are a Biblical nation, founded on Biblical principles of God’s word.”
Graham says he hears a lot, “Pastors are not to be engaged in political things,” to which he responds, “That’s why we’re in the mess we’re in today.”
“We need to stand up, we need to get engaged and we need to fight for freedom.”
Graham said, “We’re good about sitting there and nodding yes,” before he invited attendees to come forward to pray with him, which nearly everyone did for the next few minutes.
While he said that there’s not an elected official who could save us, Graham also said, “We need some good, Godly people running for office,” as he introduced Circuit Court Judge Michael Collins to give his testimony.
A half-hour break ensued, which included a box lunch for those who pre-purchased them and food trucks were available out in the parking lot.
The first session after lunch included U.S. Congressmen John Rose (R-TN-06), who was introduced by State Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver, Mark Green (R-TN-07), who was introduced by State Rep. Bruce Griffey (R-Paris) as well as a video by Scott DesJarlais (R-TN-04)
Weaver talked about the event on January 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C., that she said was the most amazing patriot event she had ever been a part of, where she saw grandmas pushing their grandbabies, people carrying flags and people being part of something we’re losing in this country.
“And it’s called patriotism,” said Weaver.
“There were millions of people who went on their own time and their own dime to go to our nation’s capital. I look forward to seeing more of this.”
Weaver said she relayed that because while she and her husband were outside the Capitol in the January freezing weather and unaware of what was going on inside, her Congressman Rose texted to check on them.
“That’s the kind of guy I am grateful we send to Washington, D.C., who cares about his folks,” Weaver said, as she asked for a nice warm welcome for Rose.
Rose said he ran for office, because he was concerned about the country that would be passed on to our children and grandchildren and the importance of continuing the proud American tradition of leaving the country to the next generation better than our parents left it to us.
“I fear that our generation may let that unbroken tradition end.”
While the day 20 years ago started off much like today, Rose said, our world was forever changed and the war on terror began with all of its many military engagements, billions of dollars and thousands of American lives.
Rose was subdued but resolute when he said President Biden’s “reckless decision to withdraw forces from Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of 9/11 has revealed the most significant foreign policy and national security failure in a generation.”
“And, in fact,” Rose added, “it is disrespectful to those that have laid down their lives in the name of American freedom.”
He said that 9/11 reminds him of what President Ronald Reagan said.
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was like when in the United States men were free.”
In that light, Rose said their family traveled to Shanksville, Pennsylvania to pay tribute but also to share with their son what happened that day.
“We can’t expect to share with those who were not here on 9/11 just once and them understand the significance of that day. We must tell them that story over and over again so that they have a keen appreciation for the fragile nature of our freedoms,” Rose said.
“Thank you for being here today to help honor the many, the thousands who have fallen to help carry the torch of freedom forward. Thank you for who you are and what you do and it’s a great privilege to join you today in commemorating the bravery, the steadfastness, the resilience of those who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend this great country.”
After being introduced by Griffey, Green said he was glad to be back home.
“Washington, D.C. is an absolute mess. Nancy Pelosi has lost her mind, if she ever had one.”
“Twenty years ago last night,” Green gave a somber reminder, “246 people went to bed anticipating an early flight the next morning, 343 firefighters went to bed prepping for a morning shift, 60 police officers were resting for the next day’s patrol, 8 paramedics went to bed expecting the next day to be another average day, thousands of Americans were resting preparing for another day at work. None of them would live past 10 a.m. the next day.”
“Why? Because 19 sadistic, jihadist terrorists went to bed hell-bent on death, destruction and defeating America. And those Americans, those people, gave their lives showing the world there really is hate out there. Hate for freedom and especially hate for America. Today is a day to reflect on those lost lives. Today is a day to never forget those first responders, those firemen, those police, those paramedics that ran to the fire.”
“Most of all, today is a day to resolve that their loss will never be in vain and that we will never allow a tragedy like that to happen in this great country again.”
Green went on to say, though, that here we sit with a President of the United States and Secretary of State who refuse to call the Taliban terrorists and left Americans behind to a fate with terrorists and gave material aid to terrorists on the FBI terrorist watch list, despite laws to contrary.
“The greatest threat to the national security of the United States of America is President Joe Biden,” Green declared.
Green said that the root of the country’s problems is related to not upholding the 10th Amendment of the Constitution and the divergence in the parties, resulting in wild swings of the pendulum that is no way to run a country.
After talking about the need to take on corporate, media and tech giants and the Biblical story of David versus Goliath, Green said, “We need giant killers in the United States of America right now. Davids that are willing to stand up to these giants, to stand up to this woke cancel culture. We need giants who will stand up to these companies who think they can force us to believe what they want to believe, to stand up to leaders who think they can tyrannically force their mandates on us. We need giant killers to stand up to take on these giants. And, I’m guessing there’s a lot of them in this room.”
“God bless the men and women and their families who paid the ultimate sacrifice on 9/11 saving Americans. God bless my brothers and sisters in arms who went down range to bring retribution to the jihadist terrorists. God bless every single one of you for remembering them today. And, God bless this great country,” Green concluded.
Irlene Mandrell, the youngest of the Mandrell Sisters was introduced by Pody as one who has a real heart for veterans. Mandrell, along with her daughter and several musicians, played a 20-minute set that included four songs.
As the anticipation for the arrival of Eric Trump built, so did the crowd size, background noise and the activity level, as event workers moved in position to secure the 45th President’s second son.
In the meantime, the audience heard from Kristin Benton, State Coordinator of Moms for Liberty Tennessee and active member of the Williamson County Chapter leadership. With over 70 chapters in 25 states, Benton said that it is all the work of moms, who are working, raising families and doing this.
“This is true grassroots, folks. This is what it looks like,” said Benton.
In Tennessee, Benton said that even though there are 6 chapters – in Williamson, Davidson, Wilson, Knox, Sullivan and Hamilton counties – and over 4,000 members, they are looking for even more parents to join the fight.
“If there is anything good that came out of COVID,” Benton said, “it’s this: Parents got to see what is being taught in the classroom. And we didn’t like it.”
What the group found is that through the Wit & Wisdom curriculum taught in 33 counties in Tennessee, the youngest of school-aged children are being taught through English Language Arts a curriculum that is wrought with critical race theory (CRT) under the guise of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) as well as suicide ideation and graphic suicide, gender fluidity, anti-American, anti-nuclear family, anti-police and anti-church ideology.
Benton called out the Main Stream Media for misrepresenting a Williamson County School Board meeting, where 2,000 people showed up and she waited 8 hours to ensure a place in line to be able to speak against the mask mandate.
Yet “the couple of jokers” who showed up at the end and stirred things up was what was covered in the news, not the 2,000 parents that showed up and said, “We don’t want mask mandates, we don’t co-parent with the government, and the school board said ‘We don’t care what you think.’”
Like others that spoke during the day, Benton said that the real work happens at the county commission and school board. With historically low election turnout and sometimes no candidates to run for those seats, Benton encouraged attendees to consider running or recruiting and supporting other candidates to run.
Former Speaker of the House and spearhead of the 1994 Contract with America Newt Gingrich, introduced by his younger sister Susan who resides in the Knoxville area, gave a brief video message regarding election integrity.
“I think it’s being threatened and attacked like never before,” said Gingrich. “The left has decided that they can only win by cheating.”
One of the main sponsors of the event and the one responsible for landing Eric Trump as a featured speaker was Judd Sellars of Sellars Funeral Home in Wilson County.
Sellars said he is a red-blooded American who loves his country and tries to train his children in that way.
He said in the last year there was the loss of legend Charlie Daniels, as he acknowledged Daniels’ wife and son. Sellars said there is an effort underway to establish the Charlie Daniels Veterans Museum and encouraged support of the non-profit.
As Sellars brought the much-anticipated Trump to the stage, they greeted each other in a warm embrace.
“Tennessee. Let me ask, do you miss Trump?” asked Eric Trump.
“I went all around the country and I spoke at hundreds and hundreds of events and I said this guy is going to destroy the country,” Eric Trump said of Joe Biden.
“Now I told everybody it was going to take four years to do it. He actually did it in less than six months, which is really astonishing.”
“Biden has destroyed this country in less than six months, and it is so sad. It is so, so sad,” said Trump.
Trump said it was great to be in Tennessee and started calling out shirts, flags, and hats attendees had to show support for his father and 45th President.
“But, guys, I promise you, we are going to be back on this stage. Mark my words, you mark my words, we’re going to be back on this stage and we’re going to get this thing back,” Trump said as probably music to the ears of attendees.
He went on to share a little secret about traveling around the country and Biden, “who didn’t leave his basement very often.”
But when he did leave Delaware, Trump said one of them would normally be around with thousands and thousands of people showing up while Biden would have his 10 little circles, most of which weren’t filled.
“Does anybody actually believe this guy won the election?” Trump asked to shouted responses of “No!”
“Does anybody believe Joe Biden got 17 million more votes than Barack Obama?”
“When you see crowds like this, I just don’t believe it.”
“You know guys, I remember that day that my father told us he was running. He grabbed Don, Ivanka, myself, my wife and he goes, ‘Kids, I’m going to do it. I’m going to run for president.’ This was like three days before he went down that escalator, that famous escalator ride. And he goes, ‘You know, let’s do it for family.’”
“And I’ll never forget looking at him and I’m sitting there saying, man I don’t know anything about politics. What’s a delegate? I don’t know what the Iowa caucuses is.”
“You know, it’s really amazing, the media will go on for years and years and talk about how there’s a Russian collusion.”
Trump then revealed, “We weren’t smart enough to know what Russian collusion was. We didn’t know what delegates were. I build hotels, I build buildings, I build, we operate golf courses. I don’t collude with Vladimir Putin. Are you kidding me?”
At the Iowa caucuses, Trump said he asked a young staffer, “So, what do you do here?”
“Well, sir, you’re going to go out to one side and you’re going to have Jeb Bush on the other side and you’re going to tell everybody why your father is a better candidate than they would ultimately be,” the staffer responded.
“I know nothing about immigration, I know nothing about any of these subjects. As a family we went out there and spoke from the heart and we talked about how America was being destroyed by incompetent politicians, career politicians.”
“People like Hillary Clinton who never had a job in her life. People like Joe Biden who never had a job, but only milked the federal government their entire life. Isn’t it really interesting that everybody in Washington, they never write, they never sign the front of a check? They never sign a front of a check. They never have to make payroll.”
He contrasted that to Sellars who actually has to keep his business going, pay people and deal with the ups and downs of business.
“These guys don’t understand ups and downs. They don’t understand business. They don’t understand the way the world actually works. They go out there and spend other people’s money.”
“Guys I would see my father and he’d open up a paper. The U.S. is 30th in the world in terms of education. He’d sit there and say, ‘What the hell. How can you be 30th in the world in terms of education? We should be number one absolutely everything.’”
“Not only are we 30th in the nation in education, but we spend the most and we get the worst result.”
“That’s called failing,” declared Trump.
“We give $150 billion to Iran – a country that hates our guts, chants ‘death to America,’ hates all the Christians that are out here,” Trump said, pointing to the attentive audience.
“Those same planes you saw a couple weeks ago – the C17s flying out of Bagram Air Force Base – they filled those planes up with pallets of cash and flew them into Tehran in the middle of the night to give $150 billion to a country that chants ‘death to America,’ hates who we are, hates our way of life and will use that money to build weapons to ultimately use against Americans at home and overseas.”
“He’s reading this and saying, ‘What the hell are we doing. What are we doing. What are these politicians doing?’”
Continuing with an inside glimpse, Trump said, “Guys, we were never a political family. It’s the last thing we ever wanted to get into.”
He said he’d never forget an interview his father had with Oprah Winfrey in the 1980s where he said he had no desire ever to be the Commander in Chief, but qualified that if it ever got so bad, “I will enter that race, I will win and I will save America.”
“And, that’s exactly what he did,” said Eric to loud cheers and applause.
Trump said that in in 2016, the military was run down, veterans weren’t treated well by the Veterans Administration, the country was energy dependent, jobs were being lost to China and Mexico and illegal immigration was rampant.
“Everywhere we went,” mentioning Ohio, Iowa, rust-belt states and even Tennessee, “factories were closed. The lights were turned off. There were chain-link fences around the parking lots. There was no light. There was no spirit. These little towns that were once, you know, incredible were totally run into the ground.”
That’s what prompted Trump to say, “’I’m going to do it.’ And that’s when we did it.”
“For all the religious people in here, we had no advantage. We had no advantage in the world. Hillary out-raised us 6 to 1. We had 300 million bucks. She raised about $1.5 billion including her super PACs.”
He recognized that there was somebody watching down and blessing them.
“We needed it.”
Trump then turned to the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attack, “That day impacted every single one of us profoundly.”
He alluded to growing up in Trump Tower and seeing the World Trade Center towers every day until he was 18, although he doesn’t relate to New York or cities any more.
In the aftermath of 9/11, Trump said that an American flag could not be found at any store, because of the patriotism in the country, people bleeding red, white and blue, and every country in the world knowing that America was the greatest country in the world.
While a symbol of America – the World Trade Center – came down and a symbol of American might –the Pentagon – had a massive hole and 3,000 people were lost that day, America was never more unified and celebrated that day were law enforcement and first responders, he said.
Trump then paused to recognize law enforcement.
“And, by the way, the Trump family loves law enforcement. So to the guys in the back, thank you. Love you to death.”
“How could we go from that in 20 years, even though it feels like yesterday, to a nation that literally applauds a women’s soccer team that went to the Tokyo Olympics, kneeled for the National Anthem, desecrated the flag and ultimately lost a game that they should have easily won?”
Trump contrasted celebrating American might and watching the American flag fly on every house around to Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association and the National Football League players making tens of millions of dollars per year to play a sport who now kneel for the National Anthem, desecrate our great American flag, disrespect our red, white and blue, when in no other country in the world would those individuals be given half of the opportunity that American provides them.
He questioned how could the pendulum swing the way that it did, from patting law enforcement on the back to wanting to defund and abolish law enforcement.
“Honestly, we need politics like we need a hole in the head. Trust me, life outside of politics is far better.”
Calling out Pody as he did several times during his remarks, Trump said, “Senator, you knew this. Life is better outside politics.”
Even with the many adversaries around the world, Trump said our politicians in Washington are actually our own worst enemy.
Trump recalled that seven minutes after being sworn in, The Washington Post said this is when we start to impeach the 45th President.
“If you are effective and working for the people,” Trump said, “the political elite will try to burn you, take you down, investigate you and try to destroy your life.”
“But we needed somebody with some common sense to come in and save this country,” he said of his father.
He later told The Star in an exclusive interview, that the incompetence of the current administration will cause the pendulum to swing back.
As Trump concluded his remarks, many of the attendees began to leave, although there was one more segment to the event.
A panel discussion, emceed by Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles included Founder and Executive Director Tennessee Stands, Gary Humble; Director of Empowerment Programs with Epik Holdings, Inc., Brian Moran; and health freedom advocate and author, Ty Bollinger.
Laura Baigert is a senior reporter for The Star News Network, where she covers stories for The Tennessee Star and The Georgia Star News.