Joe Biden delivered a speech honoring the “longtime friend,” “good man,” and former Vice President Walter Frederick “Fritz” Mondale on Sunday in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
“I served with Fritz for a long time. He’s become a good close friend,” the president said during his address at Northrop Memorial Auditorium on the University of Minnesota campus during the memorial service for Mondale, who served as President Jimmy Carter’s number 2 for his term. single from 1977-1981. .
“I was a kid when I got elected — I wasn’t even old enough to be sworn in — I was 29,” Biden said as he reflected on his friendship with Mondale.
Mondale died in April last year at the age of 93.
Speaking before Biden, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, along with the state’s two Democratic senators, Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith – who, as part of his remarks, shared a eulogy for the former president Carter and Bill Clinton.
Following Klobuchar’s remarks, the president took the stage. He was followed by Mondale’s sons, Theodore and William.
Biden referred to Mondale by his nickname “Fritz” and called him “one of the great giants of American history.”
President Joe Biden attended and spoke at the memorial service for the late Vice President Walter ‘Fritz’ Mondale Sunday afternoon in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Biden spoke after Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar (right). They kissed on stage after Klobuchar’s remarks and just before the president’s eulogy
Walter Frederick ‘Fritz’ Mondale (pictured at the Capitol on January 3, 2018) died in April last year at the age of 93
“Fritz and I first met at the darkest time of my life. I had no intention of running for the United States Senate,” Biden said before launching into a lengthy summary of his rise from New Castle County councilman to widower and then U.S. senator from Delaware.
Biden said Fritz “kissed me and reached out to me.”
‘[He] helped me find my purpose in a sea of darkness of pain,” he said, referring to the rapid succession of election victory and then his wife and daughter who died in a car accident in 1972.
Biden praised Mondale for bringing the vice president’s office to the White House, saying there was never a physical place for the No. 2 executive to work in the West Wing before President Carter and Vice President Mondale.
“He was the first vice president to have an office in the West Wing — just steps from the Oval Office,” Biden said. ‘This has never happened before. They were in the Executive Office Building across the street.
“That was the real strength of the vice presidency, he said,” the president added to Mondale’s reflection. “A strength that Barack and I replicated during our tenure. And what I’m doing – Kamala and I are doing today.
Vice President Kamala Harris did not attend the memorial service as she is still in quarantine after contracting COVID-19.
“I never forget on a personal level what it meant to have a friend like Fritz,” Biden concluded.
Joining the president on his trip west are Minnesota Democratic Representatives Ilhan Omar and Dean Phillips, along with American Enterprise Institute scholar emeritus Norm Ornstein and Washington National Cathedral canon historian Jon Meacham.
Biden also brought his chief of staff Ron Klain and national security adviser Jake Sullivan.
The trip to Minnesota to honor his former colleague came the morning after the president attended and spoke at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner – as the dubbed ‘prom nerd’ reappeared at Washington, DC after two years of cancellations due to the COVID -19 pandemic.
Biden landed Air Force One in Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Sunday afternoon to attend and speak at the memorial service for the late former Vice President Walter Mondale, who served under President Jimmy Carter
President Joe Biden is greeted by Darlene Walz (left), mother of Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, and the governor’s wife, Gwen Walz (right) Sunday, May 1, 2022, in Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport
His attendance marked the first time in six years that a president had attended the event after President Donald Trump boycotted it. Biden spent his remarks joking about his age, his approval rating and the far-right chant “Let’s Go Brandon.”
The night included several laughs and the celebration of First Amendment freedom of the press. His Sunday trip to Minnesota is for a much darker event.
Biden’s tenure in the Senate overlapped with Mondale’s final three years before he left Congress to serve as vice president.
Mondale lost the most lopsided presidential election of any Democratic candidate in U.S. history after he bluntly told voters to expect a tax hike if he won. He lost to Ronald Reagan in his re-election bid, winning only the District of Columbia and his home state of Minnesota, leading to an Electoral College result of 13 for Mondale and 525 for Reagan.
The late senator also served as Carter’s vice president, served as ambassador to Japan under President Bill Clinton and Minnesota attorney general from 1960 to 1964 before being elected to Congress.