Former Vice President Walter Mondale passed away Monday at the age of 93 years old. The man who I was sure was going to beat the late President George H. W. Bush, did at least pave the way for our current Vice President Kamala Harris. So here, we present both the statements of President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden, and V.P. Harris.
Statement from President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden on the Passing of Walter Mondale
It’s with great sadness that Jill and I learned of the passing of Vice President Walter Mondale, but great gratitude that we were able to call one of our nation’s most dedicated patriots and public servants a dear friend and mentor.
Jill and I had the opportunity to speak to Fritz and his family over the weekend, to reflect on the years of friendship we shared, and how much we learned from and leaned on each other.
When I arrived in the United States Senate in 1973, Walter Mondale was one of the first people to greet me. Through his work as a Senator, he showed me what was possible. He may have been modest and unassuming in manner, but he was unwavering in his pursuit of progress; instrumental in passing laws like the Fair Housing Act to prevent racial discrimination in housing, Title IX to provide more opportunities for women, and laws to protect our environment. There have been few senators, before or since, who commanded such universal respect.
When President Obama asked me to consider being his Vice President, Fritz was my first call and trusted guide. He not only took my call, he wrote me a memo. It was Walter Mondale who defined the vice presidency as a full partnership, and helped provide a model for my service.
And Joan did the same for Jill, helping her carve out a role for herself as our nation’s Second Lady.
He not only created a path for himself, he helped others do the same. Walter Mondale was the first presidential nominee of either party to select a woman as his running mate, and I know how pleased he was to be able to see Kamala Harris become Vice President.
In accepting the Democratic Party’s nomination for President, he described the values he was taught to live by: “to play by the rules; to tell the truth; to obey the law; to care for others; to love our country; to cherish our faith.”
As a Senator, an Ambassador, a Vice President, and a candidate for President, he lived and spread those values.
Our hearts go out to the Mondale family. And we take some comfort in the fact that he is with Joan and Eleanor now.
Statement from Vice President Kamala Harris on the Passing of Walter Mondale
Vice President Walter Mondale led an extraordinary life of service. He defended our nation as a member of the United States Army during the Korean War, and he protected our Constitution as Minnesota’s Attorney General. As United States Senator, he fought for equal justice—working tirelessly to ban discrimination in housing and to build the Great Society.
Under President Jimmy Carter, Vice President Mondale transformed the Office of the Vice President. He brought the President and the Vice President closer together, re-defining the relationship as a true partnership. Vice President Mondale worked side by side with President Carter as the two endeavored to end the arms race, promote human rights, and establish peace.
When he won the Democratic Party presidential nomination in 1984, Vice President Mondale made a bold and historic choice. He selected Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate—the first woman to be nominated as Vice President on a major party ticket in American history. With that nomination, Vice President Mondale opened “a new door to the future,” to borrow his words.
Vice President Mondale was so generous with his wit and wisdom over the years. I was able to speak with him just a few days ago and thank him for his service and his steadfastness. I will miss him dearly, and my heart is with his family today. I hope they find comfort in knowing that he is with his beloved wife, Joan, and daughter, Eleanor, now—and that his legacy will live on in all of us.
Each time I open my desk drawer and see his signature there, alongside the signatures of 11 other Vice Presidents, I will be reminded of and grateful for Vice President Mondale’s life of service.
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