WASHINGTON — Sen. Bob Dole’s casket arrived in the U.S. Capitol on Thursday following his death early Sunday morning at the age of 98.
The longtime Republican lawmaker from Kansas will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, an honor reserved for the nation’s most eminent government officials and military officers.
Dole, who served from 1985 to 1996 as the leader of the Republican party in the Senate, spent decades as a lawmaker on Capitol Hill before retiring from public office in the 1990s. He was instrumental in the passage of the 1990 Americans with Disability Act and the establishment of the federal Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday. Over the course of his 36 years on the Capitol, Dole launched three unsuccessful bids for president. In 1976, he ran as the Republican vice presidential nominee alongside presidential nominee Gerald Ford.
President Joe Biden, who served in Congress with Dole for 25 years, remembered the late congressman on Thursday as “a giant of our history -- and that’s not hyperbole, it’s real.”
“We meet here the very heart of American democracy, the Capitol of the United States of America, to receive a hero of that democracy for a final time,” the president said in remarks at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. “Robert Joseph Dole -- he belongs here.”
On Sunday, the president called Dole “a man to be admired by Americans” who had “an unerring sense of integrity and honor.”
“In the Senate, though we often disagreed, he never hesitated to work with me or other Democrats when it mattered most,” Biden said.
“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. But I am grateful for the times we shared, and for the friendship Jill and I and our family have built with Liddy and the entire Dole family.”
Dole is survived by his wife, Elizabeth “Liddy” Dole, and his daughter, Robin, from his first marriage.
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