“All of us are heartbroken.”
– Speaker Nancy Pelosi
| Clintons, McConnell, Pelosi heap praise on civil rights ‘icon’
July 18, 2020
New York Times – A giant. A legendary leader. A civil rights icon. A human saint.
Representative John Lewis — who addressed Americans from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial when he was only 23, led one of the nation’s most famous civil rights marches and became known as the “conscience of the Congress” while representing the citizens of Georgia for more than three decades — had long been a singular figure in Washington.
As the news emerged late Friday that Mr. Lewis, 80, had died, bipartisan praise poured in, as friends, colleagues and admirers reached for the appropriate superlatives to sum up an extraordinary life.
Praise for Pours in From Nation’s Political Elite
“He loved this country so much that he risked his life and his blood so that it might live up to its promise,” former President Barack Obama, who often said he owed his political career in part to Mr. Lewis, wrote in a post on Medium.
“And through the decades, he not only gave all of himself to the cause of freedom and justice, but inspired generations that followed to try to live up to his example.”
Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a joint statement that America had “lost a giant.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the entire Capitol would mourn: “All of us were humbled to call Congressman Lewis a colleague, and are heartbroken by his passing.”
The praise was hardly limited to Democrats. Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, whose parents opposed segregation, recalled joining hands with Mr. Lewis as members of Congress sang “We Shall Overcome” at a ceremony in 2008 to honor the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“Dr. King famously said, ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,’” Mr. McConnell said in a statement … Read more.