- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 5, 2021

Tributes for former Sen. Bob Dole poured in from presidents, lawmakers of both parties, veterans and other admirers after the war hero and longtime Republican statesman died Sunday at age 98.

President Biden, who served in the Senate with Mr. Dole for 23 years, praised the late Kansas Republican for “his legacy of decency, dignity, good humor, and patriotism for all time.” He said they often disagreed in the Senate but maintained a friendship into Mr. Biden’s presidency.

“To me, he was also a friend whom I could look to for trusted guidance, or a humorous line at just the right moment to settle frayed nerves. I will miss my friend,” Mr. Biden said.

Former President Donald Trump called Mr. Dole “an American war hero and true patriot.”

He served the great state of Kansas with honor and the Republican Party was made stronger by his service,” Mr. Trump said. “Our nation mourns his passing, and our prayers are with Elizabeth and his wonderful family.”

Mr. Dole endorsed Mr. Trump for president in 2016.

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Former President Barack Obama said Mr. Dole had “a career and demeanor harkening back to a day when members of the greatest generation abided by a certain code, putting country over party.”

His sharp wit was matched only by his integrity, and he lived his life in a way that made it clear just how proud he was to be an American, and how committed he was to making this country everything he knew it could be,” Mr. Obama said in a statement.

Former President Bill Clinton, who defeated Mr. Dole for the White House in 1996, said he “dedicated his entire life to serving the American people.”

“After all he gave in the war, he didn’t have to give more,” Mr. Clinton said. “But he did. His example should inspire people today and for generations to come.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, called Mr. Dole “a force in enshrining essential protections into law with the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act, and he served as an inspiration himself to millions.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, California Republican, said Mr. Dole “dedicated himself to the American experiment and its deepest ideals.”

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“Today, we should reflect on service to one another and commit to following the example he set for America,” Mr. McCarthy said.

An Army veteran who was grievously wounded in combat in World War II, Mr. Dole never regained the use of his right arm. Well into his 90s, he was known for greeting veterans who came to Washington on “Honor Flights” to visit the World War II Memorial on the National Mall.

Senate Armed Services Chairman Jack Reed, Rhode Island Democrat, said when World War II veterans from his state visited the memorial, “one of their true highlights was seeing Sen. Dole.”

He was there to confer respect and honor upon others, and it was truly a privilege to be there at his side and see veterans and caregivers alike light up and connect with him,” Mr. Reed said. “Sen. Dole was both a great listener and storyteller and he always made sure our veterans knew: This is their memorial. It belongs to them.”

Veterans of Foreign Wars National Commander Fritz Mihelcic noted that Mr. Dole became lifelong friends with former Sen. Daniel Inouye, a Hawaii Democrat who also was seriously wounded in combat during World War II. Inouye died in 2012.

“Two combat-wounded veterans, split by political party but united by a passion to properly care for veterans, service members and their families — that’s America at its best,” Mr. Mihelcic said. “America is remembering Sen. Dole as a former presidential candidate and member of Congress for 36 years, but the VFW remembers him as a 55-year Life member of VFW Post 6240 in Russell, Kansas, as a champion for people with disabilities, and as a regular greeter of fellow World War II veterans visiting their National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.”

He said Mr. Dole “was an American patriot who cared deeply about the health and well-being of those who have and are wearing the uniform of our country and their families.”

Mr. Dole ran three times for president. He lost in the Republican primaries in 1980 to Ronald Reagan and in 1988 to George H.W. Bush. He won the Republican nomination but lost the general election to Mr. Clinton in 1996.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney, a friend for nearly 50 years, said Mr. Dole “translated his experience in the military into a political career that was rooted in a confidence about the exceptional nature of America.”

“His presence will be missed, but the profound impact he had on this country will never be forgotten,” Mr. Cheney said.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican who came to the Senate in 1981, called Mr. Dole “a best friend” and a mentor. Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, the Republican nominee for president in 2012, called Mr. Dole “a man who dedicated his life to serving our country.”

Like many admirers, Sen. Susan Collins, Maine Republican, recalled how Mr. Dole paid tribute to the late President George H.W. Bush on Dec. 4, 2018, as Bush lay in state in a flag-draped casket in the U.S. Capitol. Bush also was a World War II veteran.

“In a moment that will live forever in our national memory, the 95-year-old rose from his wheelchair and with his left arm — the only arm his heroism in World War II allowed him to use — saluted his fellow patriot,” Ms. Collins said. “Today, we salute Sen. Bob Dole and celebrate the courage, determination, and devotion to duty he demonstrated not just on that unforgettable day, but throughout his remarkable life.”

Former President George W. Bush, son of the late president, also remembered that moment in a statement on Sunday.

“I will always remember Bob‘s salute to my late dad at the Capitol, and now we Bushes salute Bob and give thanks for his life of principled service,” Mr. Bush said.

Cindy McCain, widow of Republican Sen. John McCain, called Mr. Dole “the last of the lions of the Senate.”

Sen. Roy Blunt, Missouri Republican, said Missourians could always rely on Mr. Dole’s efforts in Congress on behalf of the Midwest.

“For decades, Missouri Republicans considered Bob Dole as our third United States Senator,” Mr. Blunt said. “His quick wit and his keen understanding of America’s role in the world were always part of any conversation you had with him. A great life, well lived.”

Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, called Mr. Dole “a true American hero.”

“A member of the Greatest Generation, Bob Dole served our country as an extraordinary soldier, a relentless legislator, and a faithful statesman,” Mr. Cruz said.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who served as press secretary in the Trump White House and is running for governor of Arkansas, said Mr. Dole “honorably served our country both in and out of uniform.”

“I first met him when I was only 10 years old when he came to campaign for my dad in Arkansas,” she said, referring to former Gov. Mike Huckabee. “Bob Dole loved his family and our country. He will be greatly missed. Elizabeth and the rest of his family are in our prayers.”

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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