Ricketts to call for active US world leadership in maiden Senate speech
EXCLUSIVE — Freshman Sen. Pete Ricketts (R-NE) is set to deliver his maiden speech on the Senate floor Wednesday afternoon, in which he will call on the United States to take a more active role globally by maintaining peace through strength.
The Nebraska senator’s comments come as there are growing concerns about China’s military modernization, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and as the Biden administration attempts to respond to a record number of migrants crossing the southern border.
“Our allies are seriously questioning America’s commitments to our friends. Even worse, the bad guys — our adversaries like the People’s Republic of China and regimes in Russia, Iran, and North Korea — are questioning our resolve,” Ricketts will say, in preview excerpts provided to the Washington Examiner. “Our freedoms and our way of life depend on peace. And how do we maintain peace? We maintain peace through our strength.”
Ricketts touches on the situation at the border, accusing the Biden administration of “turning a blind eye to the devastating humanitarian and security crisis on our southern border,” a common talking point among many of his other Senate Republican colleagues.
“Vulnerable people are dying, exploited by the cartels. Fentanyl and other deadly drugs are flooding into our nation. So are suspects on our terrorist watch list,” Ricketts plans to say on the Senate floor on Wednesday afternoon. “What comes across our border doesn’t stay there. The drugs, the criminals, the human trafficking victims — they impact every community. It’s costing Americans their lives.”
Ricketts goes on to criticize the administration’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, in which 13 U.S. service members were killed in a suicide bombing outside the airport, which also claimed the lives of another 170 Afghan civilians.
“American service members lost their lives, including Nebraskan Corporal Daegan Page. Unbelievably, we left Americans behind and abandoned our Afghani security partners,” Ricketts will say.
Notably, the Nebraska senator does not specifically mention the conflict in Ukraine in preview excerpts of his speech. The topic continues to divide the Republican Party, with some making it clear they oppose a significant chunk of U.S. aid provided to Ukraine. The senator previously supported providing aid to the country with oversight.
The maiden speech is a Senate tradition where new senators set the tone for their term by giving their first major address on the floor. Typically, Senate leaders, along with the senator’s senior colleague from his or her home state, will be on hand to witness the speech while the new senator’s family watches from the gallery.
The former Nebraska governor also talks about how the federal government under the Biden administration is trampling on states while failing at its most basic duties.
“The Biden administration is trying to force a liberal agenda on every state in America, far overstepping its legal and constitutional bounds,” Ricketts is prepared to say. “I will hold this and future administrations accountable to the American people.”
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