She Is There for All of Us
The Honorable Madeleine Albright’s Speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery
My fellow Americans, good evening.
Sixty-eight years ago, during a time of grave danger, Democrats gathered in Philadelphia to nominate a tough, smart, and experienced Presidential candidate. At the time I was a child in Europe, where I lived in fear because my native Czechoslovakia had been taken over by Communists. But within a few months, my family found refuge in America — and that candidate, Harry Truman, became my first American President.
Tonight in Philadelphia, we nominated someone with Truman’s fighting spirit to be our next President — Hillary Clinton. And this fall, we must do everything we can to make sure that Hillary becomes our next Commander-in-Chief. Because in this era, with these threats, we need a leader who has the experience and judgment to keep America strong, secure, and safe.
I know Hillary Clinton will be that president because I have known her for more than 25 years — because I have seen her fight — and win — for our country and for causes that count. When Hillary was First Lady, we went to the Beijing Women’s Conference. She courageously stood up and spoke out on behalf of human rights and women’s rights, inspiring millions to fight for a better future. We went to Prague, where I showed her the city of my birth and made her eat Czech cabbage — she didn’t like it very much. We met with Václav Havel — who she did like — and who made so many dreams of freedom come true. When Hillary served in the Senate, I saw her work day and night as a member of the Armed Services Committee — working with Republicans and Democrats to keep our military strong and protect our troops and their families.
And when Hillary served as Secretary of State, I watched her partner with President Obama to restore our country’s reputation around the world. She fought terrorism. She stopped the spread of nuclear weapons. And she promoted diplomacy, defense, development, and democracy — smart power — in every corner of the world.
As I travel today, I am reminded how important it is that the person who represents our nation is trusted by our allies — who knows how to work with them, not alienate them, to defeat ISIS — and who listens more than she talks.
Hillary and I share a few things in common.
We both went to Wellesley College — so I know where she got her study habits. We are both mothers and grandmothers — so I know where she got her management skills. But we also know what it’s like to step off that plane with the words “United States of America” on it. She knows that safeguarding freedom and security is not like hosting a reality TV show. It is a complex, round-the-clock job that demands not only a steady hand and a cool head, but also a big heart. You are not just representing yourself, you are there for all of us.
Hillary has displayed these qualities in every job she has ever had.
And last week in Cleveland, we were reminded that her opponent possesses none of them. Many have argued that Donald Trump would harm our national security if he were elected president. The fact is: He has already done damage, just by running for president.
He has undermined our fight against ISIS by alienating our Muslim partners. He has weakened our standing in the world by threatening to walk away from our friends and our allies — and by encouraging more countries to get nuclear weapons.
Donald Trump also has a strange admiration for dictators such as Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong-un, and Vladimir Putin. When asked about Putin, Donald Trump said — and I quote — “in terms of leadership, he’s getting an ‘A.’” The truth is that a Trump victory in November would be a gift to Vladimir Putin — and given what we have learned about Russia’s recent actions, Putin is eager for Trump to win. And that should worry every American.
Take it from someone who fled the Iron Curtain, I know what happens when you give the Russians a green light. Trump’s dark vision of America, one that’s isolated in the world, alienated from our allies, would be a disaster. We must make sure that never happens. We must elect Hillary Clinton as our next president.
My fellow Americans, at the age of 11, I sailed past the Statue of Liberty and started my life in the world’s greatest democracy.
I am so grateful to our country, and I am supporting Hillary Clinton because I love it.