Carl and Marsha Mueller, whose daughter Kayla Mueller was kidnapped and killed by ISIS in 2015, spoke on the final night of the Republican National Convention on Aug. 27, 2020.
Marsha: My name is Marsha Mueller. This is my husband, Carl. Our daughter, Kayla was taken as a hostage and murdered by ISIS. From a young age, Kayla was amazing-she taught herself languages, how to write music, how to play guitar. She worked with troubled youth, military veterans, and Native Americans. Everywhere Kayla went, people smiled. Kayla had a gift to be able to see the world through someone else’s eyes. She became a humanitarian aid worker and when she was helping children at an orphanage in India, Kayla wrote I find God in the suffering eyes reflected in mine, if this is how you are revealed to me, this is how I will forever seek you. She went to Turkey to help Syrian refugees in 2012. In August, 2013 she was asked by another aid worker to cross the border into Syria to help at a hospital. On August 4, 2013, ISIS terrorists stopped her vehicle and took her captive. Carl: Kayla was mostly held in a 12′ by 12′ cell in solitary confinement. It was cold and dirty. ISIS terrorists shined bright lights in her face. They shaved her head. They beat her and tortured her. The leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, raped her repeatedly. For-18 months-she endured. And we endured an agonizing back-and-forth between us, the Obama administration, and ISIS. We put all our faith in the government. But our government let us down. President Obama refused to meet with us until ISIS had already beheaded other Americans. To this day, we’ve never heard from Joe Biden. Instead, the Obama administration hid behind policy so much that we felt hopeless when they kept us from negotiating to save Kayla’s life. The administration showed more concern for the terrorists in Guantanamo than for the American hostages in Syria. The military prepared a rescue mission, but the White House delayed it. By the time it went forward, Kayla had been moved to a different location. After 18 months of brutal torture, we learned from ISIS that Kayla had been killed. The Obama administration kept telling us they were doing everything they could. But their version of everything wasn’t enough. What a difference a president makes. Under President Trump, U.S. Army special operators conducted a raid on al-Baghdadi’s compound. After we learned that al-Baghdadi was killed, we learned something else: The operators named themselves Task Force 814 after August 14, Kayla’s birthday. And they named the mission Operation Kayla Mueller. To those soldiers: thank you. Kayla was looking down on you. The Trump team gave us empathy we never received from the Obama administration. The Obama administration said it was doing everything it could. The Trump administration actually is. Let me just say this: Kayla should be here. If Donald Trump had been President when Kayla was captured, she would be here today. When Kayla was a hostage, I’d go outside at night and look at the moon. I’d look at the moon and I’d promise her I’d do everything I could to get her home. Now, when I see the moon-I’m reminded of my promise to her I couldn’t keep. Marsha: All Kayla wanted was to make it home. We are still working to find her and, God willing, we will bring her home. Kayla was born a miracle-we were told we would never have a second child. But God gave us Kayla. And she gave herself to the world. Eight months into Kayla’s captivity, another hostage was able to smuggle out a letter Kayla had written. As we read it, we could see that God was holding her in His arms. In her words, she felt tenderly cradled in freefall. She also wrote: I have been shown in darkness, light and have learned that even in prison, one can be free. I am grateful… I have had many hours to think how only in your absence have I finally at 25 years old come to realize your place in my lifeTop of Form… None of us could have known it would be this long but know I am also fighting from my side in the ways I am able and I have a lot of fight left inside of me… I am not breaking down and I will not give in no matter how long it takes. Kayla taught me so many things as her mom. She’s still teaching us. Carl and I support Donald Trump because of his commitment to make and keep America great, not with the power of the government, but with the passion of people like Kayla-Americans who, even in the darkest days, always have more fight left inside of them. Americans who don’t just talk-they act. That was our daughter. That’s President Trump. As long as we stay strong like Kayla, as long as we refuse to break, we will be great.