Administration

Biden eulogizes Reid as a fighter ‘for the America we all love’

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was honored on Friday at a memorial service in Las Vegas, attended by President Biden, former President Obama and other former colleagues who spoke of Reid’s integrity and humility.

Biden described his relationship with Reid, who was his longtime colleague in the Senate, as both a decades-long partnership in public service and a close brotherhood.

“Harry would always have your back,” Biden said. “Harry had mine, and he knew I had his.”

“He gave me a sense of confidence,” added Biden.

Biden emphasized Reid’s willingness to work hard for what he believed, whether it was popular or not.

“None of it was easy,” said Biden. “The thing about Harry — he never gave up.”

Biden concluded his eulogy with a call for America to follow in Reid’s example.

“May this be his legacy,” Biden said. “Call on each of us to be our best. Speak truth from the heart. Take up the remaining rounds of Harry Reid’s good fight for the America we all love.”

Obama remembered Reid as agreeable but determined. “Being tough, being a fighter, was one of Harry’s singular characteristics,” Obama said.

Nonetheless, “Harry was a true and loyal friend,” he said.

Reid played a central role in enacting the former president’s agenda as Senate majority leader. 

“His willingness to fight by my side, to stick with me even when things weren’t going our way,” Obama said. “It’s a debt to him I cannot fully repay.”

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who served with Reid for nearly two decades in the Senate before succeeding him as the leader of the chamber’s Democratic caucus, echoed this sentiment, praising Reid for his “truly honest and original character.”

“Harry, in short, was one of the most incredible individuals I’ve ever met,” Schumer said. “The sort of person you come across only a handful of times in your entire life.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) referred to Reid as a “towering titan of public service.”

“His modesty made him, you might say, unique in politics,” she said of Reid. “But his humility was rooted in his strong values from a humble childhood, rising from Searchlight to the spotlight.”

Reid, one of the most influential and powerful Democratic leaders ever to serve in Washington, died in December following a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. He was a representative in the House for four years and a senator for 30, serving as a majority leader from 2007 to 2015. He was one of the Senate’s longest-serving majority leaders, surpassed only by former Sens. Mike Mansfield (D-Mont.) and Alben Barkley (D-Ky.).

Prior to becoming majority leader, he was elected Senate Democratic whip in 1998 and Senate Democratic leader in 2004. He led the Senate Democratic Conference from 2005 until his retirement in 2017.

Three of Reid’s children also spoke at the memorial service.

“My father taught me to treat everybody equally, and not based on race or social status,” said Kay Reid.

In her speech, Lana Reid praised her father as well, saying, “Nobody loved me the way my dad loved me. He was a wonderful father who loved me unconditionally.”

–Updated on Jan. 9 at 8:48 a.m.

Tags Barack Obama Charles Schumer Chuck Schumer Harry Reid Joe Biden Nancy Pelosi

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