Jun 23, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden recalls how the late GOP Sen. John Warner "forged consensus"

"In the battle for the soul of America today, John Warner is a reminder of what we can do when we come together as one nation," President Biden said in remarks Wednesday at the funeral of former GOP Sen. John Warner, who endorsed Biden during the 2020 election.

The big picture: Biden has long been an advocate of bipartisanship and forging consensus in the U.S. Senate, which has been at the center of debate in recent weeks due to the Republican filibusters of a Jan. 6 commission and a sweeping voting rights bill spearheaded by Democrats.

  • Biden is still pushing to strike bipartisan deals with Republican senators on infrastructure spending and police reform.
  • Suggesting that "senators in Congress will understand this," Biden said that Warner's endorsement in June 2020 "gave me confidence not about winning, but about being able to do the job."

Background: Warner was Richard Nixon's Navy secretary and went on to serve with Biden in the Senate for three decades, before retiring in 2009. He died of a heart ailment at his home in Alexandria on May 25 at age 94.

What they're saying: "[Warner] understood that democracy is more than a form of government. Democracy is a way of being," Biden said. "He understood it begins and grows in an open heart and with a willingness to work across the aisle and come together in common cause."

  • "And that empathy, empathy, is the fuel of democracy. The willingness to see each other as opponents, not as enemies. Above all, to see each other as fellow Americans even when we disagree," the president added.
  • "That is how John forged consensus and made sure our system worked and delivered for the people."
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