Biden, Daschle, Tom Hanks among those who attended

December 10, 2021
President Joe Biden greets former President Bill Clinton prior to the funeral service for late US Senator Bob Dole at the Washington National Cathedral on Dec. 10, 2021, in Washington, DC.
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Former congressional leaders, friends and President Joe Biden paid tribute to former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole on Friday in a funeral service at Washington National Cathedral and a ceremony at the National World War II Memorial.

The events brought out a number of Dole’s former Senate colleagues, Vice President Kamala Harris and former President Bill Clinton among others. 

Dole died in his sleep Sunday morning at age 98. The military veteran leaves behind a legacy within the Republican Party, having served as its national chairman in the 1970s, Senate majority leader in the 1980s and as the GOP presidential nominee in 1996. Clinton, the incumbent, was reelected president that year.

Memorial services will conclude in Kansas on Saturday where Dole’s body will lie in repose at the Kansas Statehouse. 

Bob Dole’s funeral:Bob Dole hailed as war hero and ‘Kansas’ favorite son’ at Washington funeral service

Dole’s widow, former Sen. Elizabeth Dole, and their daughter Robin Dole, were among the late senator’s family in attendance. Robin Dole called her father an animal lover and “the most generous person” in her tribute. 

Here’s what we know about the roster of politicians and celebrities who attended Dole’s funeral.

Bill Clinton

Clinton, who partnered with Dole to establish a fund to provide educational assistance to the families of 9/11 victims, was the only former president who attended funeral services on Friday. In a statement released Sunday, Clinton recalled Dole “passionate and spirited, sharp and funny.”

“He could fan the partisan fires and put them out when an honorable compromise was in reach,” Clinton said on behalf of himself and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  “I enjoyed our combat, and our cooperation even more.”

The former president said Dole gave even more to his country than he had to after fighting in WWII.

“The power of that example should inspire people in public service today and for generations to come,” Clinton said.

Vice President Harris and first gentleman Doug Emhoff

Harris appeared at the funeral Friday with husband, Doug Emhoff. The vice president called Dole a “war hero and a patriot, who devoted his life to service” in a statement posted to Twitter Sunday.

“From his time as a lieutenant in the Army during World War II — where he was gravely wounded on the battlefield, to his decades in public office including as Senate majority leader, Senator Dole served our country honorably,” Harris said in the statement.

Former vice presidents Mike Pence, Dick Cheney and Dan Quayle

Three former vice presidents – Dick Cheney, Mike Pence and Dan Quayle – attended the funeral Friday. 

Pence praised Dole in a statement Sunday, calling the late senator “a truly great man who lived an extraordinary life of service to America” who will be deeply missed.

Cheney, who served as vice president to former President George W. Bush, shared a 50-year friendship with Dole, according to a statement released Sunday.

“As a member of the Greatest Generation, he translated his experience in the military into a political career that was rooted in a confidence about the exceptional nature of America,” Cheney said of Dole. “His presence will be missed, but the profound impact he had on this country will never be forgotten.”

Quayle, vice president to former President George H.W. Bush, paid respects to Dole Friday and laid his hand on the casket after a moment of silence. In a statement, Quayle called the late senator a “patriot.”

“Those of us who served in the Senate with him always called him ‘leader’ because that is what he was – a great leader for America,” Quayle wrote.

House members and senators, including Pelosi, McCarthy and McConnell

Members of the Senate and House of Representatives also attended Dole’s funeral, among them were House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.; Rep. Ted Cruz, R-Texas; Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Susan Collins, R-Maine.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. was also present, along with former Sens. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Tom Daschle, R-S.D.

All of them publicly hailed Dole’s impact on American politics. Pelosi remembered him as a “towering leader who embodied courage and excellence in public service.” McConnell said Dole was “a steady leader and a legislative master.” 

Friends of the Dole family: Tom Hanks, Mark Milley and Savannah Guthrie

Friends of Dole also offered tributes, including Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Savannah Guthrie of NBC’s Today and actor Tom Hanks.

Guthrie opened the service before the World War II Memorial Friday afternoon with a speech highlighting her friendship with Dole.

“What a glorious surprise, so marvelous and unexpected, this treasure of a relationship, and inside it, a valuable lesson,” Guthrie said. “Senator Bob showed me that even well into your 90s, it is never too late to make a new friend.”

In his remarks, Milley remembered Dole as “a man of deep character and tremendous accomplishment.”

“He served the army. He served the state of Kansas. He served his political party but above all, he served his country and he served his fellow American,” Milley said. “Bob Dole always, always put his country first.” 

Hanks, who is a longtime advocate of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, recalled Dole’s key role in creating the World War II Memorial. 

“This memorial stands in this rightful sight because Bob Dole remembered. He remembered the nearly half a million souls who, unlike him, never came home from the second World War. He remembered the years of service the surviving Americans had invested,” Hanks said.

Reach out to Chelsey Cox on Twitter at @therealco.



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