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Remembering Nancy Reagan

Reagan died Sunday at age 94 (CQ/Roll Call file photo).
Reagan died Sunday at age 94 (CQ/Roll Call file photo).

Former first lady Barbara Bush “Nancy Reagan was totally devoted to President Reagan, and we take comfort that they will be reunited once more. George and I send our prayers and condolences to her family.”  

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama “Nancy Reagan once wrote that nothing could prepare you for living in the White House.  She was right, of course.  But we had a head start, because we were fortunate to benefit from her proud example, and her warm and generous advice.  

“Our former first lady redefined the role in her time here.  Later, in her long goodbye with President Reagan, she became a voice on behalf of millions of families going through the depleting, aching reality of Alzheimer’s, and took on a new role, as advocate, on behalf of treatments that hold the potential and the promise to improve and save lives.  

“We offer our sincere condolences to their children, Patti, Ron, and Michael, and to their grandchildren.  And we remain grateful for Nancy Reagan’s life, thankful for her guidance, and prayerful that she and her beloved husband are together again.”  

Former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton “Nancy was an extraordinary woman: a gracious first lady, proud mother, and devoted wife to President Reagan — her Ronnie. Her strength of character was legendary, particularly when tested by the attempted assassination of the president, and throughout his battle with Alzheimer’s. She leaves a remarkable legacy of good that includes her tireless advocacy for Alzheimer’s research and the Foster Grandparent Program.  

“We join all Americans in extending our prayers and condolences to her beloved children and her entire family during this difficult time.”  

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Jill Biden Nancy Reagan defined grace, courage, and loyalty. An accomplished actress, First Lady of California, and First Lady of the United States, she understood public service is a noble endeavor. She was a strong voice to keep children safe from drugs, and she reached out to give comfort to fellow cancer survivors, communities touched by gun violence, and families as they cared for a loved one on the lonely walk of Alzheimer’s. That’s who she gave voice to in her service to our country. And together, she and our 40th president gave meaning to a poet’s words:  

‘Come live with me and be my love/And we will all the pleasures prove.’ Nancy and Ronald Reagan proved those pleasures for more than half a century. They are now together to prove them once again.  

Former Secretary of Education and Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander “Nancy Reagan stayed overnight with us at the governor’s residence. Honey and I saw her often during the Reagan presidency. She was always thoughtful and elegant and devoted to her husband and to our country.”  

Texas Republican Rep. Kevin Brady “Cathy and I are saddened by the news of her passing, but we rejoice in the knowledge that she is reunited with her beloved Ronnie in the Kingdom of Heaven.”  

California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer “She set an example as a first lady who truly stood on her own as a force. She made a lasting contribution to the fight against Alzheimer’s and her support of the Brady bill made the difference.”  

North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr “Today, Americans mourn the loss of the former first ady, who represented the United States with utmost dignity. I am saddened to hear of her passing, but find solace that she will once again join her husband. Let us remember her great contributions to this country, such as her commitment to stem the AIDS virus and her advocacy for a drug free country. Nancy Reagan led her life as an example to others, and while today is a day for mourning, we are better for having had her influence on this nation.”  

Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton “Nancy Reagan was the epitome of a first lady — a portrait of grace, compassion, and patriotism. During her time in the White House, she led a tireless campaign against drug abuse and addiction and helped shine a spotlight on these important issues. Above all else, she was deeply devoted to her husband and her family. While we mourn her death, we can all take solace in knowing she is finally reunited with her beloved Ronnie today.”  

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz “Today we mourn the loss of first lady Nancy Reagan – she was first in the heart of “Ronnie,” and of Americans across the nation who will forever be grateful for her service to the nation. She was her husband’s first friend and counselor – and his inspiration. In her public role as first lady, she brought elegance, dignity, and wisdom to the White House as she so graciously hosted dignitaries from around the world. She also poured her life into helping the afflicted, especially those gripped by drug and alcohol addition. She pioneered programs to lift Americans out of addiction and restore hope to them and their families.  

“When Ronald Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, her faithfulness only multiplied as she stayed by his side. She always remained the love of his life, and after his passing she carried on his legacy – and most of all his faith that this nation would always stand for good in the face of evil, defeat those who meant her harm, and remain a shining city upon a hill.”  

California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein “Nancy Reagan was a great American and an influential first lady, and she will be missed. My thoughts and condolences are with her family and many friends.  

“As first lady, Nancy Reagan worked tirelessly to combat drug abuse among the nation’s young people. Her “Just Say No” campaign reached millions of students in the United States and abroad and made a difference in saving lives.  

“She was also a strong advocate for gun safety laws after nearly losing her husband to gun violence in 1981. The support of President Reagan and Nancy was critical to securing passage of the Brady Bill in 1993.  

“As President Reagan’s Alzheimer’s disease progressed, Nancy Reagan used her voice to increase public awareness about the importance of stem-cell research in developing treatments and finding cures for degenerative diseases, even taking the bold step of asking President George W. Bush to approve federal funding.”  

Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner “Throughout her life, the former first lady committed herself to countless charitable organizations to improve the lives of others and served as a strong partner to her husband, President Ronald Reagan. Our nation is better off because of her service and devotion to the American people.”  

House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer “Nancy Reagan was truly an inspirational figure. She was devoted to President Reagan, to their family, and to our country, and through her advocacy on behalf of those suffering from Alzheimer’s she made millions of American families her own. A crusader against drug abuse and an advocate for breast cancer awareness, Mrs. Reagan was also a deeply influential figure in American politics and in her husband’s Administration. All who had the privilege of knowing her will remember her kindness and her warm spirit, her energy and her determination. I join in mourning her passing and offer my condolences to the entire Reagan family.”  

Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar “I was saddened to hear about the passing of former first lady Nancy Reagan. She served admirably as first lady. Later, when her husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, she fought to advance the progress of research on that disease and was a strong advocate for innovative medical research for cures and new treatments for all diseases. We can ensure that Mrs. Reagan’s legacy lives on by carrying on this advocacy.”  

Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain “Although Cindy and I are terribly saddened by the news of former first lady Nancy Reagan’s passing, we take comfort in the faith that she has been reunited at long last with her beloved ‘Ronnie,’ the 40th president of the United States. Theirs was a genuine partnership of kindred spirits, who were deeply and unceasingly in love, a partnership that benefited a nation as well as a couple.  

“Nancy Reagan was an example to us all of graciousness, loyalty and dignity in good times and bad. She was an exemplary first lady, and a generous friend. I will always be grateful for her and her husband’s many kindnesses to my family. And I will always remember her as a dear friend and patriot and as one-half of a love story that Hollywood couldn’t have written any better.”  

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy “Nancy Reagan touched the heart of our nation. Her character, her efforts, and her example made the world a better place. My thoughts and prayers are with the Reagan family as they mourn the loss of such an amazing woman. We will always remember her for her service, her devotion, and her unfailing love for our country.”  

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “Elaine and I join the nation in mourning the loss of Nancy Reagan. In many ways the Reagan love story was classic Hollywood, but it was unmistakably human too. Hands intertwined, Nancy and Ron rose to the pinnacle of political power, weathered cancer and personal heartbreak, and braved the depths of Alzheimer’s cold embrace — always together. I know every American felt Nancy’s immense pain when she, kissing Ronnie’s casket, mouthed a tearful farewell to the best friend she once said she couldn’t imagine life without.”  

“Today, Nancy and Ron are together once more, and we offer our most sincere condolences to the friends and family left behind.”  

North Carolina Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry “Giulia and I are saddened to learn of Mrs. Reagan’s passing. She was a lady of true grace and dignity who served as a towering presence during her time as first lady. The only comfort of her passing is the knowledge she is now reunited with her beloved husband. Our prayers are with the Reagan family as they mourn their loss.”  

New Mexico Republican Rep. Steve Pearce “Nancy Reagan brought a sense of grace to the White House and beyond. I saw this myself at President Reagan’s funeral. She fought for programs to help those suffering from substance abuse. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Reagan family.  She will always be an example of a true public servant and we are eternally grateful for her.”  

House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers “It’s been said that behind every great man stands an even greater woman. Nancy Reagan was the embodiment of this sentiment. While history books will recall the leadership of the late President Ronald Reagan, the shining city on a hill shined a little brighter with Mrs. Reagan by the President’s side.  

“As a young woman, I always looked up to the First Lady. She inspired girls like me to go after our dreams — and reminded us that feminism is the ability to live the life we choose. Decades later, I’ve never forgotten her words. I carry them with me every day.  

“She brought class, grit and charm to all she did, and was one of the most influential and consequential First Ladies of our lifetime. We could all learn from her example. As women and as leaders, it’s our time to carry her torch and inspire the next generation as she so inspired us.  

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi “As first lady, Nancy Reagan devoted her time and energy to fighting drug use among children and young adults – bringing national attention to the issue with her ‘just say no’ campaign.  A loving and nurturing wife and mother, Nancy Reagan devoted herself to caring for President Reagan during his battle with Alzheimer’s.  In 2001, Mrs. Reagan courageously spoke out in support of stem-cell research, channeling her family’s private struggle into public advocacy on behalf of the millions of Americans fighting this disease.  

“In June 2009, as speaker and as a Californian, I was honored to welcome Mrs. Reagan to the Capitol and see her joy as we dedicated the statue of President Reagan in the Rotunda.”  

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince 
Preibus “Nancy Reagan embodied what it means to represent America as first lady and her dignified and warm demeanor inspired America. Mrs. Reagan will go down in history as a woman who left her own mark on the White House and our country. She was a longtime friend and supporter of many in our party, and will be sorely missed. My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Reagan family and all those who she so deeply touched over the years.”  

Illinois Republican Rep. Peter J. Roskam “I’ll never forget the first time I met the first lady. My parents were set to receive the President’s Volunteer Action Award at a White House lunch in 1988 when my dad had to have emergency surgery. I attended in their place. I sat at Nancy Reagan’s table for lunch and explained the circumstances of him not being able to make it. I told her my mom was ‘standing by her man’ (I used those words) at the hospital, and that it would mean the world to my dad if the president gave him a call. ‘What’s the number?’ she said. That night, from Camp David, President Reagan called my dad in the hospital. No cameras. No press releases. Just personal kindness – something that seems tragically lost in today’s politics of fear and agitation.  

“Today feels like an important inflection point for the conservative movement. We would be wise to emulate the lives of the Reagans and their abiding commitment to the aspirations of our nation.  

Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio “Nancy Reagan was a woman of incredible grace and strength who served as an inspiration to an entire generation of Americans. As first lady, she chose not only to lead with her distinctive style and poise, but also to take a stand on tough issues, such as the prevention of recreational drug abuse.  

“For conservatives, she has been a powerful living link to her husband’s legacy as one of the greatest modern presidents. Through her work with the Reagan Library, she has been active in extending the impact of his leadership and message to a new generation.  

“It was an honor to have met Mrs. Reagan when I spoke at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in 2011. She went out of her way to warmly welcome Jeanette and me. She will be sorely missed by those who knew her, and forever remembered by a grateful nation.”  

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan “Ronald Reagan could not have accomplished everything that he did without his wife Nancy. As first lady, she brought a sense of grace and dignity to the White House. She roused the country to redouble the fight against drugs. And she showed us all the meaning of devotion as she cared for President Reagan throughout his long goodbye. She loved her husband, and she loved her country. This was her service. It was her way of giving back. And all of us are very grateful. So on behalf of the entire House, I wish to extend our condolences to the Reagan family and offer our prayers on the passing of a great American, Nancy Reagan.”  

Vermont Independent Sen. Bernard Sanders “No matter your party or political ideology, this is a sad day for America. Nancy Reagan was an exemplary first lady. A devoted partner, she was her husband’s most trusted advisor and, as such, served our country well. Even after her time in the White House, she was an outspoken advocate for stem-cell research to find a cure for Alzheimer’s. Nancy Reagan had a good heart, and she will be dearly missed.”  

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise “Nancy Reagan served with grace and elegance as our first lady. She will forever be remembered for her love of our country and for her courage as she helped her husband, our 40th president, battle Alzheimer’s in his later years. Jennifer and I send our deepest condolences and heartfelt prayers to the Reagan family, and our faith leads us to know that Nancy is now reunited with her beloved Ronnie in heaven.”  

New York Democratic Sen.  Charles E. Schumer “You didn’t have to be a Reagan Republican to admire and respect Nancy Reagan. She was a tower of strength alongside her husband, had strong beliefs, and was not afraid to chart her own course politically. She persuaded her husband to support the Brady Law, and their advocacy was instrumental in helping us pass it.”  

Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions “Nancy Reagan was a great wife and patriot. She and President Reagan’s well-known love for each other was one for the ages. She brought tremendous dignity and respect to the White House, while providing needed support to one of America’s greatest Presidents in his efforts to win the Cold War and restore American greatness.  

“On a personal note, I often think it is too little appreciated that her historic leadership inspired millions of good citizens to rise up and take action to stop the catastrophic surging rate of drug abuse and addiction. It is a fact that her “Just say no” initiative which spread all over the nation was the key to the effort. Many scoffed, but after sustained efforts drug use started downward to levels that were half what they were when she started. Murder rates fell, serious crime also fell. Overdose hospital admissions plummeted and the prevention programs concept resulted in less death, family breakup, and human loss. A generation of Americans, especially young people, benefited from her achievement.”  

North Carolina Republican Sen. Thom Tillis “As first lady, Nancy Reagan was the embodiment of grace and class, and she tirelessly led the fight against the scourge of drug abuse and addiction in our communities.  

“One of her lasting legacies—one that truly touched hearts across the globe—is the unwavering love, humility, and compassion she demonstrated caring for her husband during his battle with Alzheimer’s disease. The tremendous level of love and devotion Nancy and Ronald Reagan shared for one another is what every couple in America aims to someday achieve.  They were truly a remarkable couple, and together they helped renew a great sense of optimism and hope in America during a time when it was most desperately needed.”  

Democratic National Committee Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz “Mrs. Reagan understood the enormous responsibility that comes with representing our nation from the White House on the world stage, and she was beloved by the American people for her grace and dignity in that role.  

“Her ‘Just Say No’ campaign to keep children from abusing drugs had a long-lasting impact that no doubt saved lives. And her work later in life to support the National Alzheimer’s Association and stem cell research helped advance the science of finding a cure for a devastating disease that affects millions of American families every day.  

“As we celebrate her life and legacy as a partner, confidant and advisor to President Reagan, and as a leader and philanthropist in her own right, we should also honor her passing by reflecting on the progress we can make when our elected officials work together across the aisle, as the Reagan administration did on issues ranging from immigration to nuclear arms control, making our people more prosperous and our nation more secure.”


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