Prominent Republicans are paying their respects to Donald Rumsfeld, the controversial defense secretary and longtime GOP powerbroker who passed away Wednesday.
In a statement, former President George W. Bush — whom Rumsfeld architected the Iraq War under — hailed what he called Rumsfeld’s “steady service as a wartime secretary of defense — a duty he carried out with strength, skill, and honor.”
“A period that brought unprecedented challenges to our country and to our military also brought out the best qualities in Secretary Rumsfeld,” the 43rd president said in a statement. “A man of intelligence, integrity, and almost inexhaustible energy, he never paled before tough decisions, and never flinched from responsibility.
“He brought needed and timely reforms to the Department of Defense, along with a management style that stressed original thinking and accountability. As Commander in Chief, I especially appreciated how Don took his job personally and always looked out for the interests of our servicemen and women. He was a faithful steward of our armed forces, and the United States of America is safer and better off for his service.”
“All his life, he was good-humored and big-hearted, and he treasured his family above all else. Laura and I are very sorry to learn of Don’s passing, and we send our deepest sympathy to Joyce and their children,” he said, referencing former First Lady Laura Bush. “We mourn an exemplary public servant and a very good man.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) remembered Rumsfeld as an “American patriot who served his country honorably and tirelessly.”
“Donald Rumsfeld’s decades of service began and ended among the brave men and women working to keep America safe. His time on active duty in the Navy began a distinguished career that elevated his talents to the highest levels of policymaking and public leadership. At every step of the way, Donald Rumsfeld led with conviction and a cutting intellect.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) honored the length of Rumsfeld’s service to the country, noting how he was both the nation’s youngest and second oldest defense secretary over the course of his life.
“Donald Rumsfeld leaves behind a long and distinguished career at the highest levels of government. A man of skill, vision, and verve, he first served in elected office at the age of 30 as a Member of Congress in the People’s House. He served under four Presidents, becoming both the youngest and the second oldest man to serve as Secretary of Defense,” the top ranking House Republican said.
“In all of these roles, Rumsfeld confronted the unique challenges facing our country with honor, integrity, and distinction, especially with his passionate advocacy for our heroes that serve in uniform and his steady leadership in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks.”
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), who knew Rumsfeld on a personal level through her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, called him “a great patriot” and touted his “unparalleled” military service.
“He was somebody who I knew all my life who was a mentor and a role model and somebody who will be tremendously missed, and the nation will be forever grateful for his service,” she said.
The Illinois native passed away at his home in Taos, New Mexico, surrounded by his family.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) tweeted that he was “very sad” to hear of the former defense secretary’s passing.
“While we had our differences, Secretary Rumsfeld was a great patriot who loved our military and our men and women in uniform.”