Washington — President Biden spoke at the funeral of former Republicanof Virginia on Wednesday, praising the late lawmaker’s legacy of bipartisanship at a time when there is very little of it. The funeral for Warner, a moderate Republican, evoked an arguably bygone era of bipartisan camaraderie and cooperation.
“Even when we disagreed, from John’s perspective, especially when we disagreed, that’s how John forged consensus. And made sure our system worked, and delivered for the people,” Mr. Biden said. “I saw it time and again, on issues of war and peace, John opposing torture, and ending gun violence. On protecting the rule of law, and the independence of the judiciary. John’s decisions were always guided by his values, by his convictions, and never by personal political consequences.”
Warner and Biden served decades together in the Senate. Warner was a senator from 1979 to 2009, while Mr. Biden served in the upper chamber from 1973 to 2009.
The president met with Warner’s family ahead of the service, according to the White House. First lady Jill Biden also attended the funeral.
Warner, who was also a former Navy secretary, died in May at 94. Despite his party affiliation, Warner endorsed Mr. Biden for president last year.
“While we represented different political parties, I can say without hesitation — John was a man of conscience, character and honor, with a deep commitment to God and country,” Mr. Biden said.
Mr. Biden began his speech by touching on his key presidential theme of the importance of democracy, calling it the “soul of our nation” which must be “defended at all costs,” something he said Warner recognized and fought for.
“A soul, embodied by all those patriots buried in Arlington, the fields across the world, and by our dear friend, John Warner,” the president said.
The president said Warner serves as a reminder what Americans can do when they come together.
“John’s life is a reminder that every generation, every generation, has opened the door of opportunity a little bit wider,” Mr. Biden said. “And the mission handed down generation to generation is the work of perfecting the union, a mission he now leaves us for the way forward. That’s the power of remembrance.”