Isakson talks up bipartisanship in Senate farewell speech

Isakson talks up bipartisanship in Senate farewell speech
© Stefani Reynolds

Retiring Sen. Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonCollins Senate bid threatens to spark GOP rift in Georgia The Hill's Morning Report - Bolton charge ups ante in witness showdown Collins expected to announce Georgia Senate bid MORE (R-Ga.) on Tuesday stressed the need for bipartisanship while making his farewell speech on the Senate floor.

Isakson — who is set to step down at the end of the month after nearly 15 years in the Senate — urged his colleagues to work across the aisle, noting that "there has been something missing in this place." 

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"Bipartisan doesn't mean a Democrat or Republican talk to each other once in a while. It means that two people come together. Probably have differences. Probably have a lot of differences. But they find a way to get to the end of the trail, where there is a possibility of a solution," Isakson said during a roughly 25-minute speech.

Isakson, calling bipartisanship a "will of minds" and "state of being," warned that the country is facing "some big problems." 

"I'm big on bipartisanship. Whether you're black or white, Republican or Democrat, whatever it might be, find a way to find common ground," Isakson said.

"Most people who call names or point fingers, they don't have solutions but want to make sure you don't solve it. Bipartisanship will become a way you accomplish things, a way you live, a state of being," Isakson continued. 

Isakson is well liked by both Republicans and Democrats in the Senate, despite growing partisanship in the Senate, and hosts the chamber's annual bipartisan lunch. Roughly 40 senators sat in their seats on the floor and listened to Isakson, who was given a standing ovation by his colleagues. 

Vice President Pence, former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom PriceThomas (Tom) Edmunds PriceThe most expensive congressional races of the last decade Isakson talks up bipartisanship in Senate farewell speech Hundreds apply to fill Isakson's Senate seat in Georgia MORE and Rep. John LewisJohn LewisJames Taylor to perform at awards ceremony for Ruth Bader Ginsburg this week Obama marks MLK Day by honoring King for his 'poetic brilliance' and 'moral clarity' The Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial MORE (D-Ga.) were on the Senate floor to listen to Isakson's speech.  

Isakson also used his farewell speech to warn against individuals in the United States who "play the hate card" and referenced a protest by "alt-right" white nationalists in Virginia in 2017. 

"We still have some people in the United States of America who play the hate card. We have some politicians who will dance around the issue of hate. They won't use the buzzword, but they will get awful close to it. They did in Charlottesville," Isakson said.