Biden at Sen. John Warner's funeral: He 'gave me confidence'

Biden at Sen. John Warner's funeral: He 'gave me confidence'
© Getty Images

President BidenJoe BidenFive takeaways from the Ohio special primaries FDA aims to give full approval to Pfizer vaccine by Labor Day: report Overnight Defense: Police officer killed in violence outside Pentagon | Biden officials back repeal of Iraq War authorization | NSC pushed to oversee 'Havana Syndrome' response MORE memorialized the late Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) on Wednesday, recalling the day the late lawmaker endorsed of him for president in the 2020 election.

“As we say in the Senate, ‘excuse me a point of personal privilege.’ When John endorsed me for president last year, it carried an extra meaning for me,” Biden said at the senator's funeral Wednesday morning. “It wasn’t merely that a prominent Republican endorsed me. When John endorsed me, it gave me confidence, not about winning, about being able to do the job. John gave me confidence.” 

The president delivered remarks at the Washington National Cathedral for Warner, who died on May 25 at the age of 94. Biden and Warner served in the Senate together for three decades.

ADVERTISEMENT

“The battle of the soul of America today, John Warner is a reminder of what we can do when we come together as one nation,” Biden said.

Warner served in Congress from 1979 to 2009 and was a former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Biden touted his service in the Navy in World War II and called him a man of “conscience, character and honor.”

“He understood democracy is more than a form of government, democracy is a way of being. He understood it begins and grows in an open heart and a willingness to work across the aisle and come together in a common cause and that empathy, empathy is the fuel of democracy,” Biden said.

The president noted Warner’s ability to forge consensus in the Senate and make sure the system worked in Congress. He also mentioned Warner’s stance opposing torture, ending gun violence and protecting the rule of law and independence of the judiciary.

ADVERTISEMENT

He added that Warner “understood the job of senator was bigger than himself” and emphasized his love for the state of Virginia.

Reciting the words to the song "American Anthem," the president quoted the familiar line, “America, I gave my best to you.”

“John Warner gave his best to America and, to the best of my knowledge, everybody he has a relationship with,” Biden said.

Biden also directed comforting words to Warner’s family.

He is survived by his wife, Jeanne, and three children: Mary, Virginia and John.

“The Bible teaches, blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. Comfort can be a long time in coming. I promise you, it will come. It will give you purpose in his memory and his love for you and his love for this country,” he said. 

Biden was seated at the cathedral with first lady Jill BidenJill BidenThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden sets new vaccine mandate as COVID-19 cases surge First lady leaves Walter Reed after foot procedure Biden backs effort to include immigration in budget package MORE, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiFive takeaways from the Ohio special primaries On The Money: Biden issues targeted eviction moratorium | GOP skepticism looms over bipartisan spending deal 'The Squad' celebrates Biden eviction moratorium MORE (D-Calif.), Paul Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Health Care: Florida becomes epicenter of COVID-19 surge | NYC to require vaccination for indoor activities | Biden rebukes GOP governors for barring mask mandates McConnell warns Schumer cutting off debate quickly could stall infrastructure deal Top House Democrat says party would lose elections if they were held today: report MORE (R-Ky.), Elaine ChaoElaine ChaoSaluting FOIA on its birthday House passes bill to strengthen authority of federal watchdogs Biden at Sen. John Warner's funeral: He 'gave me confidence' MORE and Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden sets new vaccine mandate as COVID-19 cases surge House clears .1 billion Capitol security bill, sending to Biden Senate passes .1 billion Capitol security bill MORE (D-Vt.).

His speech was followed by tributes from retired U.S. Navy Admiral Michael Mullen and Virginia Sens. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerOvernight Defense: Police officer killed in violence outside Pentagon | Biden officials back repeal of Iraq War authorization | NSC pushed to oversee 'Havana Syndrome' response One officer dead after violent incident outside Pentagon Bipartisan bill would create NSC position to oversee 'Havana syndrome' response MORE (D) and Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineOvernight Defense: Police officer killed in violence outside Pentagon | Biden officials back repeal of Iraq War authorization | NSC pushed to oversee 'Havana Syndrome' response The infrastructure bill creates more need for workforce training Biden officials back repealing Iraq War authorization MORE (D).