Biden praises GOP senator's bipartisanship in eulogy

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President Biden on Wednesday delivered a eulogy at the funeral of former Sen. John Warner, R-Va., at Washington National Cathedral.

And the president praised Warner for his bipartisanship in Congress.

“I had the privilege of serving with John for three decades in the United States Senate,” Biden said. “While we represented different political parties, I can say without hesitation John was a man of conscience, character and honor, with a deep commitment to God and country.”

Warner died of heart failure at his home in Arlington, Va., on May 25. He was 94.

Sen. John Warner, R-Va., speaks in Washington, D.C., Nov. 8, 2006. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Sen. John Warner, R-Va., in 2006. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The former Navy secretary was elected to the Senate in 1978 and retired in 2008 as the second-longest-serving senator in Virginia’s history. Biden served a similar length of time, representing Delaware from 1973 to 2009, when he left the office to become vice president.

“He understood democracy is more than a form of government,” Biden said. “Democracy is a way of being. He understood it begins and grows with an open heart and a willingness to work across the aisle and come together for a common cause. And that empathy, empathy is the fuel of democracy. The willingness to see each other as opponents, not as enemies. Above all, to see each other as fellow Americans, even when we disagree — from John’s perspective, especially when we disagree.”

The president’s remarks came a day after the sweeping voting rights bill championed by his administration was blocked by Republicans in the evenly divided Senate. All 50 GOP senators voted against debating the legislation, which would have made it easier for people to vote.

President Biden speaks during the funeral ceremony of former Sen. John Warner, R-Va., at Washington National Cathedral Wednesday. (Oliver Contreras/Pool via Reuters)
President Biden speaks Wednesday at Warner's funeral at Washington National Cathedral. (Oliver Contreras/Pool via Reuters)

Biden also recalled Warner’s endorsement of him in the 2020 presidential race.

“When John endorsed me for president last year, it carried an extra meaning for me,” he said. “It wasn’t merely that a prominent Republican endorsed me. When John endorsed me, it gave me confidence, not about winning, but about being able to do the job.”

Biden added: “In the battle for the soul of America today, John Warner is a reminder of what we can do when we come together as one nation.”


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