Tributes for Rosalynn Carter pour in from Washington, D.C., and around the country

Tributes for Rosalynn Carter pour in from former presidents, first ladies

Tributes poured in for former first lady Rosalynn Carter, wife of former President Jimmy Carter, after she died on Sunday at the age of 96.

"Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished," former President Carter said in a statement. "She gave me wise guidance and encouragement when I needed it. As long as Rosalynn was in the world, I always knew somebody loved and supported me."

The former first lady had been diagnosed with dementia earlier this year. She continued to live with her husband in Plains, Georgia, and entered home hospice care last week, her family said.

President Biden and first lady Jill Biden shared a joint statement mourning the death of Rosalynn Carter.

"First Lady Rosalynn Carter walked her own path, inspiring a nation and the world along the way," the Bidens said. "Throughout her incredible life as First Lady of Georgia and the First Lady of the United States, Rosalynn did so much to address many of society's greatest needs. She was a champion for equal rights and opportunities for women and girls; an advocate for mental health and wellness for every person; and a supporter of the often unseen and uncompensated caregivers of our children, aging loved ones, and people with disabilities."

Former first lady Rosalynn Carter's life and legacy, reactions to her death

Jill Biden had earlier shared the news of Rosalynn Carter's death while at a Sunday event at Naval Air Station in Norfolk, Virginia.

"She was well known for her efforts on mental health and caregiving and women's rights," she said. 

Vice President Kamala Harris also spotlighted Carter's work bringing the "issue of mental health out from the shadows into the national spotlight."

"After leaving the White House, Mrs. Carter continued to serve our nation and the world—in particular, through her leadership of the Carter Center, which she founded with President Jimmy Carter to promote peace, improve public health, and support freedom and democracy around the globe," Harris said in a statement.

Former President Donald Trump took to social media to pay tribute to Rosalynn Carter. Trump remembered the former first lady as "a great humanitarian" and "a champion for mental health."

"Over a life spanning nearly a century, Rosalynn Carter earned the admiration and gratitude of our entire nation," Trump said. "From her days as a U.S. Navy spouse, to the Georgia Governor's Mansion, to her tenure as First Lady of the United States, and her later work at the Carter Center and volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, she leaves behind a legacy of extraordinary accomplishment and national service."

Former first lady Melania Trump also remembered Rosalynn Carter in a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. 

"Rosalynn Carter leaves behind a meaningful legacy not only as First Lady but as a wife and mother," she wrote. "We will always remember her servant's heart and devotion to her husband, family, and country. May she rest in peace."

Former President Barack Obama wrote on social media, "Rosalynn Carter's life is a reminder that no matter who we are, our legacies are best measured not in awards or accolades, but in the lives we touch. We send our thoughts and prayers to Jimmy and the entire Carter family during this difficult time."

Former first lady Michelle Obama looked back on her meetings with Rosalynn Carter.

"Guided by her abiding faith and her commitment to service, Mrs. Carter used her platform in profoundly meaningful ways," Michelle Obama said in a statement. "Her groundbreaking work to combat the stigma faced by those struggling with their mental health brought light to so many suffering in silence. She advocated for better care for the elderly. She advanced women's rights. And she remained a champion for those causes - and many others like building affordable housing for those in need and caring for our nation's caregivers - in the more than four decades that followed."

In a joint statement, former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also highlighted Rosalynn Carter's work on mental health.

"Rosalynn Carter was a compassionate and committed champion for human dignity everywhere," the Clintons said. "Throughout her long, remarkable life, she was an unwavering voice for the overlooked and underrepresented. Thanks to her mental health advocacy, more people live with better care and less stigma. Because of her early leadership and childhood immunization, millions of Americans have grown up healthier."

Rosalynn Carter was mourned by people on both sides of the political aisle. 

"First Lady Rosalynn Carter dedicated her life to serving others," Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a social media post. "America has lost a passionate humanitarian and champion for people all over the world. My heart goes out to her entire family."

Republican presidential candidate and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on X honored the former first lady's "love of service."

"With the passing of Rosalynn Carter, our nation lost not only a former First Lady but we also lost a love story that inspired us all," Hutchinson wrote. "Jimmy and Rosalynn were a team in service to our country during and after the presidency. Rosalynn's support of mental health services and awareness is a reminder to us all that the challenge of mental illness is still a great need."

The U.S. Secret Service also paid tribute to the former first lady.

"Your compassion, diplomacy and penchant to make society better for those less fortunate was an inspiration for an entire generation," the agency said. "It has been our honor to protect and serve you for all of these years. You were truly a treasure for our nation and our Secret Service family."

The volunteer organization Habitat for Humanity, with which the Carters had worked closely since the 1980s, mourned Rosalynn Carter's death.

"We are deeply saddened to learn that Rosalynn Carter has died," Habitat for Humanity posted on social media. "She was a compassionate and committed champion of #HabitatforHumanity and worked fiercely to help families around the world. #HonoringMrsCarter"

Rosalynn Carter during Habitat for Humanity's 2005 Jimmy Carter Work Project. R. Diamond/WireImage via Getty Images

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also remembered the couple's work with Habitat for Humanity. 

"Together, through their Carter Center and involvement in Habitat for Humanity, President and First Lady Carter have offered a beacon of light to every corner of the world," she said in a statement. "Their beautiful love and partnership was truly a wonder for all to behold. May it be a comfort to President Carter, their children Jack, Chip, Jeff and Amy, their many grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and all of her loved ones that so many all over the globe are praying for them at this sad time."

"She and President Carter were an outstanding example of love and devotion to one another, and to others through their years of public service and extraordinary charitable works," House Speaker Mike Johnson said.

Jimmy Carter served as president from 1977 to 1981. He and Rosalynn Carter were the longest-married presidential couple.


We and our partners use cookies to understand how you use our site, improve your experience and serve you personalized content and advertising. Read about how we use cookies in our cookie policy and how you can control them by clicking Manage Settings. By continuing to use this site, you accept these cookies.