Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On The Passing Of Vice President Walter Mondale

April 20, 2021

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the passing of Vice President Walter Mondale. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks which can also be viewed here:

Last night, the country lost a giant of Democratic politics, a kind and revered public servant, a Vice President who re-imagined the position and expanded Americans’ views of who could hold America’s highest offices. Walter Mondale, known to friends and foes alike as “Fritz”, died at the age of 93.

As President Carter’s right-hand man, Fritz revolutionized the role of the Vice Presidency. There’s an old yarn about two brothers: one went off to sea and the other became Vice President. Neither was heard from again.

That’s not true of Walter Mondale. Walter Mondale was an un-cooperative subject for those Vice Presidential comedians. Not only was he was often the last person in the room with the president when the tough decisions were made, but he became an unofficial ambassador for the administration. His relationship with Prime Minister Begin of Israel helped pave the way for a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt at Camp David in 1978.

In his ultimately unsuccessful run for the presidency, Walter Mondale’s pick of my fellow New Yorker, the late Geraldine Ferraro as Vice President, was an early crack in the glass ceiling that our current Vice President, Kamala Harris, would eventually shatter.

Vice President Mondale will be remembered as a lion of progressive politics: an ardent defender of civil rights, aid to school children, child care, health care, and consumer protections. Vice President Mondale once said “my whole life, I worked on the idea that government can be an instrument for social progress. We need that progress. Fairness requires it.”

Indeed, as Vice President Mondale said, we need government to make social progress. As we say goodbye to one of our country’s most decent public servants, let us follow in his example.