Biden attends funeral of Beau’s Army Commander then makes unscheduled stop at Harry Reid’s casket

President Joe Biden is attending his second high-profile funeral within a week’s time on Wednesday, as he and First Lady Jill Biden pay their final respects to a top Army general who served as their late son Beau Biden’s commander in Iraq.

General Raymond Odierno, who was also Army chief of staff under former President Barack Obama, died at age 67 on October 9 after a battle with cancer, his family said at the time.

Odierno had eulogized the president’s late son at his 2015 funeral and awarded him with military honors. 

Biden was expected to deliver remarks at the funeral, which is closed to the press. It was held at Joint Base Myer–Henderson Hall near Arlington, Virginia. 

After the Odierno’s funeral the president made an unscheduled stop at the US Capitol, where late Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid was lying in state. 

The president’s visit only lasted a few minutes. He was observed laying his hand on Reid’s flag-draped casket momentarily, touching a memorial wreath before departing. He’s expected back at the Capitol on Thursday for a meeting with Senate Democrats.

On Saturday, the president and first lady were among the many high-profile guests saying goodbye to Reid in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

Late Army General Raymond Odierno is pictured delivering Beau Biden’s eulogy in 2015. Odierno died on October 9 after a battle with cancer, his family had said

As the Army Chief of Staff under Barack Obama, Odierno has known Biden for more than a decade. Upon the news of his death Biden released a statement declaring the US had 'lost a hero of great integrity and honor' (pictured together during then-Senator Biden's visit to Iraq in 2007)

As the Army Chief of Staff under Barack Obama, Odierno has known Biden for more than a decade. Upon the news of his death Biden released a statement declaring the US had ‘lost a hero of great integrity and honor’ (pictured together during then-Senator Biden’s visit to Iraq in 2007)

Biden remembered Reid as a skilled legislator and a fiercely loyal friend in his remarks at the funeral, which was also attended by Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and current Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer.

It’s not clear at the moment what Biden said in his speech paying respects to Odierno, but in statement he released upon news of the general’s death, Biden said the nation had ‘lost a hero of great integrity and honor.’

He also revealed in the heartfelt statement that Odierno delivered a eulogy at the funeral of Biden’s son Beau, who died of brain cancer in 2015 at 46 years old.

‘We will be forever grateful for the words and the kindness that Ray shared when he spoke at the funeral of our beloved son Beau and awarded him with the Legion of Merit,’ Biden said.

He later added, ‘Ray was Beau’s commander in Iraq, and he was there in our moment of deepest grief. We stand with the Odierno family and all our brave service members who were shaped and molded by General Odierno over his lifetime of service, and who are grieving today as well.’

After the funeral Biden stopped at the US Capitol to pay respects to late Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

After the funeral Biden stopped at the US Capitol to pay respects to late Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

Reid is lying in state at the US Capitol on Wednesday, after a high-profile funeral in Las Vegas over the weekend

Reid is lying in state at the US Capitol on Wednesday, after a high-profile funeral in Las Vegas over the weekend

Biden was also in attendance at the funeral, his seventh as president. Also there were Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer among others

Biden was also in attendance at the funeral, his seventh as president. Also there were Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer among others

At Beau Biden’s funeral in June 2015, the seasoned general posthumously awarded him the Legion of Merit for his service in the Delaware Army National Guard and stated the late Delaware Attorney General ‘possessed the traits I have witnessed in only the greatest leaders.’ 

Biden has attended ‘at least seven’ funerals for political figures as president, according to a count in the Washington Post, which is points out is a duty normally relegated to vice presidents.

Beau Biden (pictured in Iraq with his father in 2009) was posthumously awarded the Legion of Merit by Odierno at his funeral

Beau Biden (pictured in Iraq with his father in 2009) was posthumously awarded the Legion of Merit by Odierno at his funeral

Odierno’s would have been his eighth.  

Over the weekend the Post was forced to retract a post on Twitter questioning whether Biden attended too many of the solemn ceremonies.

‘Biden, who heads to Sen. Harry M. Reid’s memorial Saturday – his seventh as president – uses funerals to honor his friendships and make a point about bipartisanship,’ the now-deleted tweet read.

‘Not everyone thinks it’s the best use of his time.’

The internet immediately seized on the outlet, accusing it of callousness and criticizing the timing of posting it the same day Biden was readying to say goodbye to a longtime friend in Reid. 

The Post issued a correction the next day, linking the article with its simple title ‘Biden, funerals and a bygone America.’

‘We’ve deleted a tweet that inaccurately represented the scope of the story,’ it noted.

The story also mentions Biden’s penchant for honoring his late loved ones against the backdrop of his hectic presidential schedule: ‘If a president’s most valuable resource is his time, this one has made a particular point of setting aside hours to grieve, console and mark the friendships he’s built over his roughly half-century in public office.’

‘Though attending funerals is frequently caricatured as the purview of vice presidents, in this administration Biden has made sure to go himself, and may have attended even more if not for the coronavirus pandemic,’ it reads.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *