Washington — The death of former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole at 98 brought condolences and tributes from elected officials across the political spectrum, who praised the late senator for a life committed to public service.
Dole, who was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in February,early Sunday morning, the Elizabeth Dole Foundation said. Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced, though there will be ceremonies in Kansas and Washington, according to his website.
President Joe Biden praised the former Senate majority leader as a "man to be admired by Americans" and said the late senator had "an unerring sense of integrity and honor." The president and first lady spoke with Elizabeth Dole, Dole's wife, earlier Sunday to express their condolences, the White House said.
"Bob was an American statesman like few in our history. A war hero and among the greatest of the Greatest Generation," Mr. Biden said. "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."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell lauded Dole's service in the U.S. Army, followed by his nearly three decades in the Senate, which he said is "better off for Bob's stewardship."
"Bob was a steady leader and a legislative master. He unlocked both conservative victories and big bipartisan achievements," McConnell said in a statement. "His Dust Bowl roots fueled a special commitment to vulnerable Americans, and sure enough, Bob's work on food security, veterans' issues, and the rights of disabled Americans have continued to have an especially lasting impact."
The Kentucky Republican continued: "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."
Former President George W. Bush said in a statement the Bush family benefited from Dole's friendship, including the late former President George H.W. Bush.
"This good man represented the finest of American values," Bush said. "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."
Former President Donald Trump, who Dole endorsed in 2016, said he "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."
Senator Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont, remembered Dole as a "giant of the Senate," while Senator Mitt Romney, a Republican from Utah, tweeted that he thinks of Dole when he thinks of the greatest generation.
To honor Dole, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered flags at the U.S. Capitol to be flown at half-staff, her deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, said.
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