Honoring Bob Dole: Politicians react to former senator's death

Dole, 98, died Sunday.

December 5, 2021, 6:08 PM

Former U.S. senator and former Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole died Sunday, according to the Elizabeth Dole Foundation.

Dole, 98, was a decorated WWII veteran and was a public servant for most of his life, the foundation said.

"Thank you for the outpouring of love over the last year, it continues to sustain us as we grieve the loss of the precious man we knew as husband and father," the Dole family said in a statement Sunday. "Bob Dole was never only ours - we shared him with Americans from every walk of life and every political persuasion. He dedicated his life to serving you, and so it is heartwarming that so many honor him at his passing.

"America has lost one of its heroes; our family has lost its rock," the statement continued. "We will smile as we recall his gifted sense of humor. We will take comfort from the extraordinary moments of our lifetimes together."

Details about his memorial service and events have not been released.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi ordered flags at the U.S. Capitol to be flown at half-staff following his death.

Honoring Bob Dole

As news spread of Dole's death, some who served with him and who ran again Dole honored his service and his legacy.

President Joe Biden

"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."

"Bob was a man to be admired by Americans. 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."

Biden ordered the U.S. flag to be flown at half-staff until sunset on Thursday. Shortly after the proclamation was issued Sunday evening, the U.S. flag above the White House was lowered.

Former President Barack Obama

"Senator 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. His sharp wit was matched only by his integrity, and he lived his life in a way that made it clear just how proud he was to be an American, and how committed he was to making this country everything he knew it could be."

"Our thoughts are with Elizabeth – who has lived her own remarkable life of service – and all those who knew and loved a true American hero."

Former President George W. Bush

"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 Bill Clinton

Former Vice President Mike Pence

Former Vice President Al Gore

Former Vice President Dan Quayle

"Former Senator Bob Dole’s passing leaves a giant empty place in Washington DC. His integrity and unfailing love of the United States will be missed. One word describes Bob Dole and that is ‘patriot’. He had a keen sense of humor an unbelievable amount of persistence and he believed strongly in bipartisanship. 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.”

Sen. Mitt Romney

Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole makes a point during a Memorial Day speech in Clifton, New Jersey, May 27, 1996.
Jeff Christensen/Reuters, FILE

Sen. Bernie Sanders

Ambassador to the U.N. Cindy McCain

Former Speaker of the House and former Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan

Fellow former Kansas Sen. and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

Former Senator Bob Dole gives retired US General Eric Shenseki a thumbs-up as he arrives for Shenseki's full committee hearing on his nomination to be Veterans Affairs Secretary on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images, FILE

Honoring those who served their country was a priority for Dole, his family said. In a powerful moment in 2018, Dole stood up from his wheelchair to honor former President George H.W. Bush at the Capitol.

ABC News' Katie Bosland, Justin Gomez and Devin Dwyer contributed to this report.