WASHINGTON — U.S. dignitaries and military veterans are mourning former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, a World War II veteran and former Republican presidential candidate who served in Congress for 36 years. Dole, who had stage 4 lung cancer, died Sunday at age 98, according to his wife, Elizabeth.
Current and former presidents:
- “Bob was an American statesman like few in our history. A war hero and among the greatest of the Greatest Generation. And 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. But I am grateful for the times we shared, and for the friendship Jill and I and our family have built with Liddy and the entire Dole family. ... He had an unerring sense of integrity and honor. May God bless him, and may our nation draw upon his legacy of decency, dignity, good humor, and patriotism for all time.” — President Joe Biden, who served with Dole in the Senate.
- “Laura and I are saddened by the passing of a great patriot, Senator Bob Dole. This good man represented the finest of American values. He defended them in uniform during World War II. He advanced them in the United States Senate. And he lived them out as a father, husband, and friend. Our entire family benefitted from that friendship, including my father. 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." — Former President George W. Bush, speaking of Dole's tribute to former President George H.W. Bush.
- "Bob Dole was an American war hero and true patriot for our Nation. He served the Great State of Kansas with honor and the Republican Party was made stronger by his service. Our Nation mourns his passing, and our prayers are with Elizabeth and his wonderful family." — Former President Donald Trump.
- “Senator Bob Dole was a war hero, a political leader, and a statesman — with a career and demeanor harkening back to a day when members of the Greatest Generation abided by a certain code, putting country over party. Our thoughts are with Elizabeth and the Dole family.” — Former President Barack Obama.
- “Bob Dole dedicated his entire life to serving the American people, from his heroism in World War II to the 35 years he spent in Congress. After all he gave in the war, he didn’t have to give more. But he did. His example should inspire people today and for generations to come.” — Former President Bill Clinton.
Other lawmakers and leaders:
- “Whatever their politics, anyone who saw Bob Dole in action had to admire his character and his profound patriotism. Those of us who were lucky to know Bob well ourselves admired him even more. A bright light of patriotic good cheer burned all the way from Bob’s teenage combat heroics through his whole career in Washington through the years since. It still shone brightly, undimmed, to his last days. Bob Dole lived the kind of full, rich, and deeply honorable American life that will be impossible for any tribute today to fully capture." — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
- “America has lost an iconic statesman and tireless veterans advocate. Bob Dole distinguished himself in combat long before becoming one of the most respected voices in Congress. His leadership and determination led to the construction and dedication of the National World War II Memorial. America is a better country as a result of this great patriot’s service. The American Legion was proud to present Sen. Dole with our organization’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Medal in 1997. Our condolences to his wife, Elizabeth, his family and many friends.” — American Legion National Commander Paul E. Dillard.
- “Bob Dole was a giant of the Senate. I remember the large number of Republican and Democratic Senators gathering on the Floor to praise him when he stepped down from the Senate. Traveling with him, working with him and writing legislation with him are among my fondest memories of the Senate.” — Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the longest-serving sitting senator.
- “Senator Bob Dole will be remembered as a true American hero and an exemplary statesman — a man who chose what was right over what was convenient. Whether it was on the battlefield, in the halls of Congress, or in his everyday life, Senator Dole’s passion and dedication to his fellow Kansan and to his country was a steady reminder that a single person can make a difference and change the world. ... On the floor of the United States Senate, I use Senator Dole’s desk, and I am regularly reminded of his tireless commitment to Kansas values while being, first and foremost, a statesman who treated others with respect and kindness." — Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan.
- “Over the last several years, I was fortunate to get to spend several Saturdays a year with Senator Dole. He made it his mission to greet fellow World War II veterans in Washington, D.C., when they came to visit the World War II Memorial, a memorial that Senator Dole helped make a reality. When Rhode Island veterans would come to Washington on Honor Flights, one of their true highlights was seeing Senator 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. Senator Dole was both a great listener and storyteller and he always made sure our veterans knew: This is their memorial. It belongs to them." — Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
- “When I was at recovering at Walter Reed, Bob Dole was a patient too. He was 81 years old then, and he had his own private room, but he always did his rehab with the rest of us — cracking jokes and sharing stories about his Army days. I’ll always remember how that proud Veteran from an earlier generation took the time — during some of the most difficult moments of my life — to interact with us younger Soldiers, helping us recover from both our physical and psychological wounds. ... He was a true statesman and model of the Greatest Generation who never failed to answer the call to serve." — Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., who lost both her legs while serving in Iraq.
- “Senator Dole was many things -- a war hero, a father, a husband, a public servant; and to Kansans, a man who embodied everything good and decent about Kansas and about America. ... He was a larger-than-life presence in our nation’s politics and demonstrated a decency, a humility, and a civility that should serve as a model for those of us in public life." — Gov. Laura Kelly, D-Kan.
- “As a public servant, private citizen, and true patriot, Senator Bob Dole showed total dedication to the American experiment and its deepest ideals, answering liberty’s call at every turn. A combat hero, champion for those with disabilities, congressional leader from Kansas, and presidential candidate, Dole served this nation for 79 years. He lived a life of heroism and humor, courage and consequence, leadership and legacy that every American should strive for." — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.
- “His record as the second-longest serving Republican Leader in the history of the Senate demonstrates the respect he earned from his side of the aisle. But it was his willingness – indeed, his commitment – to reach across the aisle that produced such landmark achievements as saving Social Security, strengthening America’s hunger and nutrition programs, and reforming the tax code to better reward hard work and investment. Senator Dole’s bipartisan spirit is a vital part of his enduring legacy of leadership.” — Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.
- “Bob Dole was a soldier, a legislator, & a statesman. He always stood for what was just & right. I was honored to award him the Congressional Gold Medal & I’ll always be grateful for his service to our country." — Former House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.