WASHINGTON – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday ordered the flags at the U.S. Capitol to be flown at half-staff as lawmakers offered an outpouring of praise for Queen Elizabeth II.
Pelosi called the queen, who died Thursday at age 96, a “pillar of leadership in the global arena and a devoted friend of freedom.”
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., recalled how the queen had consoled the American people during some of the nation’s toughest trials, ringing the bell in Westminster Abbey after John F. Kennedy ‘s assassination and ordering the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ played at Buckingham Palace after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
The House plans on Tuesday to pass a bereavement resolution before adjourning for the day in her the queen’s honor.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., noted the queen was the first British monarch to address a joint session of Congress, which she did in 1991.
“She didn’t just witness the great turns of history,” Schumer said on the Senate floor Thursday. “She helped shape them over the seven decades – seven decades – of her reign.”
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Others praised the queen’s sense of duty, sharp wit, steady leadership and commitment to the “special relationship” between the United States and the United Kingdom.
Here are some of their comments:
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.: “In times of hardship, she was both strong and comforting. In times of joy she was gracious and dignified. She was a rock, the living embodiment of the virtues that lie at the core of the nation she so proudly led. I dare say we will never see a leader quite like her for as long as we live.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.: “Despite spending nearly three quarters of a century as one of the most famous and admired individuals on the planet, the queen made sure her reign was never really about herself – not her fame, not her feelings, not her personal wants or needs. She guided venerable institutions through modern times using timeless virtues like duty, dignity, and sacrifice.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.: “Under history’s brightest spotlight, Queen Elizabeth offered a masterclass in grace and strength, power and poise. Her extraordinary life and leadership will continue to inspire young women and girls in public service, now and for generations to come.”
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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif: “Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II represented what it means to lead with conviction, selflessness, and true faith in God and in her people.”
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md.: “The late Queen worked behind the scenes to encourage the end of apartheid in South Africa and helped highlight the plight of those suffering from poverty, famine, and disease around the world.”
House Republican Whip Steve Scalise, R-La.: “It was her steady stewardship, including meetings with 14 different U.S. presidents, that brought the United States and the United Kingdom closer together and strengthened our ‘special relationship’ that thrives to this day.”
Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J. chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: “The U.S. Congress was honored to host Her Majesty as she joined the American people in celebrating the bicentennial, and again for her address to a joint session of Congress in 1991.”
Senator Chris Coons, D-Del., a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: “Queen Elizabeth II was a symbol of resilience, fortitude, and the indomitable British spirit.”
Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee: “Queen Elizabeth II was a cherished friend of the United States, a pillar of the US-UK partnership and a champion of the shared values that make our countries’ bond special.”
Rep. Alma Adams, D-N.C.: “While no statement could do her seven decade reign justice, I remain thankful for her opposition to the apartheid regime in South Africa, her commitment to democracy and the international community, and her work to maintain the special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom during her time as sovereign.”