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He was a county judge, a Senator who was proud to represent his home state of Missouri, and for just 82 days, Vice President of the United States of America. And this week, a statue of the 33rd President of the United States, Harry S. Truman, was unveiled to the public in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.

Now, whenever anyone comes to the Capitol Rotunda, they’ll see the statue of a man who left a lasting impact on America through his aggressive posturing towards communist countries, his unyielding support of Israel, his actions to integrate the U.S. Armed Forces, and his pledge for accountability within the Executive Branch.

In his speech at the statue unveiling, Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy commended President Truman for all that he did for our country and urged his colleagues to live up to the ideals that Truman espoused.

Leader McCarthy’s remarks as prepared are below or you may watch online here.


“I’m delighted to welcome this statue of Harry Truman to the Rotunda at a pivotal moment for our nation’s future.

“Let’s face it: today’s world is dangerous. 

“Communist China is growing more aggressive. Putin’s Russia is mobilizing and escalating. And an Iranian regime that murders its own people is inching closer to nuclear weapons.

“These dangers echo the chaos, the complexity, and the scope of the early Cold War.

“As we confront these challenges, we have our history to guide us. We have the lessons of Harry Truman.

“Lesson 1: leadership matters.

“Truman shaped American foreign policy by taking principled actions based on the circumstances he faced.

“In March 1947, he laid out the Truman Doctrine – pledging America would ‘support free peoples’ against communism.

“In 1948, he approved the historic Berlin Airlift – which brought the people of Berlin food, medicine, and even candy for more than a year. This forced the Soviets to lift their blockade.

“Truman trusted in American exceptionalism. And he understood that a successful U.S. foreign policy begins with the idea that we should stand by our principles of freedom.

“Lesson 2: friends and allies matter.

“In one of his boldest actions as president, Truman ordered the United States to recognize the state of Israel just 11 minutes after they were created.

“And Truman remained a steadfast ally to Israel, because he knew that the source of our friendship with Israel ran deep. 

“He said in 1952, Israel has ‘a glorious future before it, not just as another sovereign nation, but as an embodiment of the great ideals of our civilization.’

“This statue reaffirms our unbreakable commitment to Israel and other allies – which are based on our shared values and interests.

“Lesson 3: live up to our values.

“Truman knew that the fight for freedom was not restricted to distant lands.

“One of his shining moments as president was his commitment to championing civil rights, including in our military.

“On July 26, 1948, President Truman signed Executive Order 9981, which made segregation in our military illegal

“Truman understood the importance of living up to our founding values that we are all created equal. And that is especially true when Americans are fighting together in the foxhole.

“Lesson 4: ‘the buck stops here.’

“That was the sign that Truman famously kept on his desk. It was his motto. His code. His philosophy of leadership.

“In his Farewell Address, Truman said, ‘The President – whoever he is – has to decide. He can’t pass the buck to anybody. No one else can do the deciding for him. That’s his job.’

“Sound advice, Mr. President. Everyone should listen to it, especially presidents. Don’t blame others for your failings. Own them. Learn from them.

“And fix them.

“Whatever the dangers today, it is important that we learn from history. As we welcome his statue to the Rotunda, Truman’s actions offer lessons for today, tomorrow, and all time.

“Let’s remember them. Let’s work to build a nation that is safe, a future that is built on freedom, and a government that is accountable.”