Biden FINALLY releases a statement on Henry Kissinger – 20 hours after his death: President says they ‘often disagreed strongly’ but praises his ‘fierce intellect’ and ‘strategic focus’ – after they first met in the 1970s
President Joe Biden eventually released a statement expressing his condolences to Henry Kissinger, 20 hours after the death of the 100-year-old American diplomat.
Biden recalled meeting Kissinger, the secretary of state and national security adviser to both Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, when he first became a U.S. senator in the 1970s.
The president said he would “never forget” that first meeting, in which Kissinger “gave a briefing on the state of the world.”
‘Throughout our careers we often disagreed. And often strong. But from that first briefing, his fierce intellect and deep strategic focus were evident,” Biden said. “Long after he retired from government, he continued to offer his views and ideas to the most important policy discussion across generations.”
“Jill and I extend our condolences to his wife Nancy, his children Elizabeth and David, his grandchildren and all who loved him,” Biden added.
Henry Kissinger (left) with President Joe Biden (right) in June 2007, when Biden was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Before the release of the statement, White House spokesman John Kirby was pressed to address the high-profile death.
“It’s a tremendous loss,” Kirby said Thursday during the White House briefing, which took place 17 hours after Kissinger’s death.
“This was a man who, whether you agree with him or not, whether you hold the same opinion, he served in World War II, served his country bravely in uniform and for decades afterward,” Kirby noted.
“We can all be grateful,” he added. “There’s no question that he shaped foreign policy decisions for decades, and he certainly had an impact on America’s role in the world.”
Kissinger died on Wednesday at the age of 100.
Kissinger was born in Germany in 1923 and escaped the Nazi regime at the age of 20. But many of his relatives died in the Holocaust.
He made his way to America, fought Germany in World War II, attended Harvard and rose through the diplomatic ranks, served two presidents and advised countless other leaders.
“This was a man who, whether you agree with him or not, whether you hold the same views, served in World War II, served his country bravely in uniform and for decades afterward,” White House spokesperson said John Kirby on Kissinger.
Biden said at a fundraiser in California in June that his foreign policy experience was equal to that of anyone else — including Kissinger’s.
‘I’m going to say something outrageous. I think I know as much about American foreign policy as anyone, including Dr. Kissinger,” the president said.
“I’ve done that all my life, the last 207 years,” Biden, the oldest US president in the US, added in a joke about his age.
He knew Kissinger when he was a senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
While Kissinger worked for two presidents, Nixon and Ford, he advised many others.
He told the New York Post in June that he had been invited to an Oval Office meeting with every president — except Biden.
A giant on the world stage, Kissinger dominated foreign policy in the 1970s as the United States withdrew from Vietnam and established ties with China.
Chinese President Xi Jinping sent Biden a message of condolence on Thursday.
Kissinger first visited Beijing in 1971, paving the way for America’s diplomatic opening to China. He visited the country more than 100 times and made a final surprise trip to Beijing in July to meet with Xi, at a time when Biden administration officials were meeting with lower-level officials.
‘Dr. Kissinger will always be remembered and missed by the Chinese people,” state broadcaster CCTV said.
Furthermore, China is willing to work with the United States to continue the friendship between the Chinese and American people, to promote the healthy and stable development of China-United States relations for the benefit of the two peoples, and to continue the friendship between the Chinese and American people. appropriate contributions to world peace and development.’
Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, talks to former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger during a meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, June 2023
Then-Sen. Joe Biden (center) with Henry Kissinger and then-Sen. John Kerry in January 2007
Henry Kissinger served as Secretary of State for Richard Nixon in October 1973, the two men in the Oval Office
George W. Bush paid tribute to Henry Kissinger and released a portrait he painted of him
Kissinger praised Biden and Xi as they met in Bali on the sidelines of a G20 summit, saying the sitdown sparked a “bridge-building effort” including cooperation on areas such as climate change and the global economy.
Biden and Xi met again in San Francisco earlier this month.
But Kissinger criticized Biden in other areas, including the president’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan in August 2021.
‘The military objectives have been too absolute and unattainable and the political objectives too abstract and elusive. The inability to connect them has embroiled America in conflicts without definable endpoints and has led us to internally dissolve the common goal into a quagmire of domestic controversy,” he wrote in the Economist.
Kissinger also supported Ukraine’s request to join NATO, which the Biden administration has been hesitant about.
Current Secretary of State Antony Blinken praised his predecessor.
“It was Henry’s enduring ability to apply his strategic insight and intellect to the emerging challenges of each passing decade that led presidents, secretaries of state, national security advisers and other leaders of both parties to seek his advice. Including me – whether traveling to China more than fifty years after his transformative journey, or seeking his advice as we shaped our approach to artificial intelligence, on which he thought, wrote and advised fruitfully until the last weeks of his life. life,” Blinken said in a statement.
“Few people were better students of history – and even fewer did more to shape history – than Henry Kissinger.”
Kissinger is a controversial figure; some call him a skilled diplomat who promotes American interests in the world, while others criticize him as a war criminal.
He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973 for negotiating the peace agreements that ended American involvement in the Vietnam War, but his critics questioned his attempt to bomb Cambodia and accused him of starting the Vietnam War. while the peace framework had been available for years.
Joe Biden with Henry Kissinger in February 2009, when Biden was vice president
Nixon’s daughters, Tricia Nixon Cox and Julie Nixon Eisenhower, said their father and Kissinger “enjoyed a partnership that produced a generation of peace for our nation.”
‘Dr. Kissinger played an important role in the historic opening to the People’s Republic of China and in promoting détente with the Soviet Union, bold initiatives that marked the beginning of the end of the Cold War,” the Nixon daughters said in a statement. “His ‘shuttle diplomacy’ to the Middle East helped ease tensions in that troubled part of the world,”
Other presidents also paid tribute.
“America has lost one of its most trusted and distinctive voices in foreign affairs,” said former President George W. Bush, who also shared a portrait he painted of the late diplomat.