Shortly after Henry Kissinger’s death was announced Wednesday, reactions began to pour in from the political world that the former secretary of state helped shape during his career in Washington.
Current and former politicians – most of them Republicans – were among the first to speak out on the controversial life and legacy of one of the country’s best-known diplomats.
“America lost one of the most trusted and distinctive voices on foreign affairs with the passing of Henry Kissinger,” former President George W. Bush said in a statement.
The 43rd president, who said he has “long admired” Kissinger, accompanied his statement with a photo of his oil painting of the former secretary of state.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called Kissinger “a titan among America’s foremost statesmen” on. He praised Kissinger’s diplomatic approach, which he said “changed the course of history.”
House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., called Kissinger’s contributions to U.S. foreign policy “immeasurable.”
“Kissinger was a statesman who devoted his life to the service of the United States and should be remembered for his efforts to secure world peace and freedom abroad,” Johnson wrote on X.
Kissinger, who died Wednesday at age 100, held senior positions in the administrations of Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. As national security advisor and secretary of state, he helped expand U.S. military involvement in Vietnam and, in doing so, was labeled a war criminal by some of his critics.
The White House has not yet released a statement on Kissinger’s death.
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Republican presidential candidate, said Kissinger’s death “leaves a void all over the world.”
“He was a shining voice for the indispensable role America must play in the world,” Christie tweetedcalling Kissinger a “good friend and mentor.”
Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, who recently dropped out of the GOP presidential race, said the: “There are few public officials who have had such a significant impact on American foreign policy. While this is an incredible loss for our nation, his legacy will endure for generations to come.”
Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, the 2012 GOP presidential candidate, tweeted that the United States is fortunate “for his life of diplomacy, wisdom and love of freedom”, while Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said on X that he had heard the news of his “good friend” with “great sadness”.
“Henry has been in the arena of world politics for decades and has served his nation well,” Graham tweeted. “He was a valuable advisor to many presidents of both parties and possessed extraordinary intelligence.”