Ronald Reagan Part V: One of America's Greatest Presidents

June 5th was the 12th anniversary of the death of Ronald Reagan. When the former president died in 2004, thousands upon thousands of Americans stood in line to pay their respects in the rotunda of the Capital Building — including Glenn Beck. Ronald Reagan had a huge impact on Americans and the United States. People still talk about our 40th president — the man, the president, the legend. In this series, we explore Reagan’s early years, his conversion from Democrat to Republican, the path to his election, and how his policies brought back morning in America.

Ronald Reagan Part V: One of America's Greatest Presidents

At 70 years old and 70 days into his presidency, Ronald Reagan had survived an assassination attempt by John Hinckley Jr., who was captured at the scene, tried and found not guilty by reason of insanity. Less than two weeks after the shooting, Reagan was back to work at the White House, turning the country's fortunes around.

His tax and spending cuts would spur the economy, but it took a little more time than some expected. In the meantime, the press did not cut him the slack they'd granted a more recent president during recessionary times. When asked by a reporter if any of the blame belonged to him, Reagan answered, "Yes, because for many years, I was a Democrat."

Reagan partnered with like-minded conservative, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and Pope John Paul II in opposing the spread of communism and the Soviet Union. In a 1983 speech, Reagan suggested a strategic defense initiative --- which came to be known as Star Wars defense --- to "intercept and destroy strategic ballistic missiles before they reached our own soil."

With that speech, President Ronald Reagan seemingly overturned 30 years of back and forth with the Soviet Union on offensive nuclear arsenals. No one knew it at the time, but it was a massive bluff that paid unbelievable dividends. The technology the president spoke of actually didn't exist. Yet, the Soviets panicked and began spending unprecedented amounts of money just to keep up. While Reagan increased the federal deficit by raising American defense spending to 7 percent of GDP, the Soviets went from an unreasonable 22 percent to an insane 27 percent of GDP with their military spending.

Domestically, the tone and policies of Ronald Reagan were working. Americans felt good again, patriotic again, positive about themselves and the future. Even though he would start a second term in 1985 at 74 years old, Reagan believed there was much more to do.

His age was definitely a factor during his '84 reelection campaign, a factor he used during a debate with his Democratic opponent Walter Mondale.

MODERATOR: You already are the oldest president in history, and some of your staff say you were tired during your most recent encounter with Mr. Mondale. I recall yet that President Kennedy had to go for days on end with very little sleep during the Cuba Missile Crisis. Is there any doubt in your mind that you would be able to function in such circumstances?

RONALD: Not at all, Mr. Truett. And I want you to know that also, I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent's youth and inexperience.

As he had done with Carter during the first presidential campaign, Reagan completely diffused something that was perceived to be a negative. With one single nicely delivered line, he had blown an actual concern of the American people out of the water.

He joked about it, often.

RONALD: One of my favorite quotations about age comes from Thomas Jefferson. He said that we should never judge a president by his age, only by his work. And ever since he told me that, I've stopped worrying.

Reagan won the reelection in one of the biggest landslides of all the time, winning 49 out of 50 states. Mondale only won his home state. The electoral count was 525 to 13. It's almost unimaginable now to think that a Republican won California, Massachusetts, New York and other liberal states --- but Ronald Reagan did.

His second term, while successful, was marked by significant hurdles and disasters --- the space shuttle Challenger explosion that took the lives of seven NASA astronauts on live national television, the Iran-Contra scandal and what he reportedly said was the biggest mistake of his presidency --- granting amnesty to the 2 million illegal aliens in 1986.

During his administration, the nation added over 16 million jobs. He cut the tax rate across-the-board, including the top rate from a ridiculous 70 percent income tax to 28. His policies lowered the inflation rate from 13.5 percent in 1980, to 1.9 in 1986. Real GDP growth under Reagan averaged 3.5 percent, and it was nearly 5 percent following the recession.

In Berlin on June 12th, 1987, President Ronald Wilson Reagan made a demand during a speech. When he went to the Brandenburg Gate at the Berlin wall, his advisers and speechwriters told him relentlessly that he couldn't possibly say what he wanted to say. They took a line out of his speech. He put it back in. They took it back out on the way to Berlin. He put it back in. And ultimately, Reagan said the five words that changed the world: Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.

At the time, it was unthinkable that the Berlin wall could come down anytime soon. But thanks in large part to his heroic efforts rebuilding the United States military, opposing communism at every turn, remaining steadfast, not to mention his Star Wars defensive system --- which never existed and sent the Soviets into a spending frenzy they couldn't sustain --- the wall began coming down on November 9th, 1989, just over two years after the speech. The Soviet Union, the evil empire, collapsed.

Today, even Democrats generally speak of Ronald Reagan fondly. They hated his trickle-down economics, Reaganomics as they called it at the time. But they are forced to admit that his policies led to an amazing prosperity.

Even as he left office, in January 1989, a Gallup poll showed a 64 percent approval rating for the departing president, the highest ever recorded for a president leaving office.

The conditions in Afghanistan under the Taliban rule — for Americans, allies, Christians, women and more — continue to deteriorate, and the people there continue to plead that we will not forget them. On the radio program Monday, Glenn Beck gave an emotional update on current evacuation efforts, including the tragic story of one girl — an American passport holder — who was not rescued in time.

"I have a pit in my stomach like I haven't had in a while. What is happening in Afghanistan is both miraculous and horrendous," Glenn began. "What's going on right now one of the most amazing things I've ever personally witnessed — the evacuation of Americans, those [Afghans] who helped us, Christians that are dying, women that are under incredible conditions. I see things that I can't show you. I see the pleadings from people who are in safe houses, 'Please, don't forget us.' I see what they're being sent by the Taliban.

"If I die today, my entire life will have been worth it for what you have helped get done, in just the last three weeks. You have saved well over 5,000 people," he continued.

Fighting back tears, Glenn added, "I ask that you pray for those in the Middle East, that are in the midst of doing work, that a Moses-style miracle will happen. ... There are several people that are in dire need of medical care. Friday, we told you — along with the congressman from Oklahoma [Rep. Markwayne Mullin] who had just returned — [about] a father and two daughters that were blue passport Americans, and a mother who had a permanent residence, a Green Card. The daughter was very ill. And they thought, that if we couldn't get her out of there, that she would lose her legs. I got a call on Saturday morning, that we were too late, that she didn't lose her legs. She lost her life, waiting. There are now two Americans, instead of three."

Glenn showered his audience with gratitude, repeating that "well over 5000" lives have already been saved because of their incredible generosity, but lamented that there are still thousands more people yet to be saved.

Watch the video clip below to hear more updates from Glenn:

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To donate to these rescue efforts, visit NazareneFund.org or MercuryOne.org.

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Megyn Kelly pulled her sons out of the private elementary school they attended after she learned that the boys were asked "weekly" if they were still sure they were boys. But that's not all that this "experimental transgender education program" taught.

Megyn joined Glenn Beck on the radio program to tell the story, which she thought had ended when the school apologized, and to talk about what's next for America as our leaders refuse to promote actual psychological support for our kids and instead "parade" transgenderism as the solution to their problems.

"When [my son] was in third grade, I found out they unleashed a three-week experimental transgender education program on these boys, with really inappropriate videos. The kids were confused. These are 8- and 9-year-olds, Glenn. They have no idea what the school is even talking about with the trans thing. They got really in-depth, with really in-your-face videos — and then parents complained. And the school did something it hasn't done in its 400-year history, which was they apologized. Even they realized they had done wrong," Megyn explained.

"But, then I said to my son a year later, so did they ever round back to the trans thing? Like, whatever happened with it? And he said ... they bring it up every week. ... [They ask] how many people here still feel confident that they're a boy? Do you still feel sure you're a boy?" she continued. "This is not support. This is not nonbullying. This is indoctrination. And it's deeply confusing to the children, and wrong."

Megyn went on to give examples of how she's seen trans ideology turn "support, nonbullying, kindness, friendship, allyship, on its head."

"The absolute surrender of the medical community to this insanity is a scourge on this nation. It's disgusting what is happening with our doctors," she added. "There are people who are legitimately transgender, or who have gender dysphoria. And for those people, we should be supportive and they should get the care that they need. But what we've done instead, is taken everyone who expresses any kind of gender confusion and said, you're trans. You're trans. And we have our psychiatrists doing this."

"It's crazy," Megyn asserted. "The fact that we're doing this so willy-nilly in the name of allyship and support, it's abusive. It's criminal."

Watch the video clip below to catch more of the conversation:

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"Never forget" is not only a tribute to those we've lost, it's a warning that it could happen AGAIN. On "Glenn TV" Wednesday, Glenn Beck looks back 20 years ago to the modern generation's Pearl Harbor moment. A day of infamy we're STILL feeling repercussions from.

But in remembering 9/11, we need to look toward the future because the Biden administration is setting us up for the NEXT 9/11. They bungled the Afghanistan withdrawal, and now we have video of top al Qaeda commanders — who served with Osama bin Laden — returning to the country. But could America survive another terror attack?

Glenn asks former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the leader who brought America back from the brink. He tells Glenn about the moment he learned the Twin Towers were struck, the actions he took to prevent more terrorism, and if he thinks NYC could survive another attack under Mayor de Blasio's leadership.

Glenn is also joined by Rev. Johnnie Moore, author of "The Next Jihad." He warns that Biden's policies in the Middle East are Obama 2.0, and "if you thought ISIS was bad, you haven't seen anything yet. We must keep our eyes on Iran."

Watch the full episode of "Glenn TV" below:


Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.