US leaders react to death of Henry Kissinger

Henry Kissinger’s death on Wednesday has prompted tributes from U.S. leaders — mostly from Republicans — on the life lived by the divisive diplomat who died at 100.

“America has lost one of the most dependable and distinctive voices on foreign affairs with the passing of Henry Kissinger,” former President George W. Bush said in a statement.

Kissinger served as national security adviser and secretary of state under President Richard Nixon and continued as secretary of state under President Gerald Ford. Kissinger won a joint Nobel Peace Prize for spearheading an agreement to end the Vietnam War, though his use of bombing raids prompted some to label him a war criminal.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday that Kissinger “really set the standard for everyone who followed in this job.”

“I was very privileged to get his counsel many times, including as recently as about a month ago. He was extraordinarily generous with his wisdom, with his advice,” Blinken said. “Few people were better students of history — even fewer people did more to shape history — than Henry Kissinger.”

In a statement later Thursday, Blinken added that “Henry made countless history-bending decisions. To serve as America’s chief diplomat today is to move through a world that bears Henry’s lasting imprint — from the relationships he forged, to the tools he pioneered, to the architecture he built.”

As of Thursday afternoon, President Joe Biden had not issued a statement about Kissinger’s death. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said during a press briefing Thursday that he “wouldn’t read into” the lack of a statement.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called Kissinger “a titan among America’s most consequential statesmen.”

“His ideas, his diplomatic skill, and his sheer force of will in service to our country changed the course of history,” McConnell said on X.

House Speaker Mike Johnson called Kissinger’s contributions to U.S. foreign policy “immeasurable.”

“Kissinger was a statesman who devoted his life in service to the United States, and should be remembered for his efforts to ensure global peace and freedom abroad,” Johnson wrote on X.

Republican presidential candidates weighed in on Kissinger’s death, too.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called him a “good friend & mentor” who “was a brilliant voice for the indispensable role America must play in the world.” Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said that while Kissinger’s “foreign policy was not perfect,” it was “pragmatic and should be studied today.”


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