WASHINGTON — President Biden honored former Senator Bob Dole on Friday as a World War II veteran and giant of the Senate, saying at a funeral service at Washington National Cathedral that he “lived by a code of honor.”
It was the second day of tributes in Washington to the former Senate majority leader and Republican presidential nominee, who worked with Democrats to advance Social Security, protect the disabled and rework the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly called food stamps. On Thursday, Mr. Biden, as well as congressional leadership, lauded Mr. Dole for representing the kind of bipartisanship that the president has described as a focus of his to legislating.
“Bob was a man who always did his duty,” Mr. Biden said. “Who lived by a code of honor. Almost seems strange to say that today. He lived by a code of honor.”
Among attendees in the cathedral were Vice President Kamala Harris, former Vice Presidents Mike Pence and Dick Cheney, and Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as Senators Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer, the minority and majority leaders, sitting side by side. The actor Tom Hanks was also present and expected to speak.
When Elizabeth Dole, Mr. Dole’s widow, entered the cathedral, she stopped to shake hands with Mr. Biden.
Mr. Biden spoke of Mr. Dole’s combativeness, both on the battlefield during World War II and in the halls of Congress.
“He could be partisan, and that was fine,” Mr. Biden said. “Americans have been partisan since Jefferson and Hamilton squared off in George Washington’s cabinet. But like them, Bob Dole was a patriot.”
Mr. Biden, who shortly after his inauguration visited the Doles at their Washington home after Mr. Dole learned he had lung cancer, spoke of traveling to Normandy with the Senate staple for the 50th anniversary of D-Day.
Mr. Biden told the audience a story of Mr. Dole helping a “fallen comrade” as they took on gunfire.
“There’s something that connects that past and present,” Mr. Biden said. “Wartime and peace. Then and now. The courage, the grit, the goodness and the grace. A second lieutenant named Bob Dole became Congressman Dole, Senator Dole, statesman, husband, father, friend.”
Mr. Biden added “a genuine hero.”
After his remarks, Mr. Biden stepped down from the stage and paused for a moment at Mr. Dole’s coffin before returning to his seat.