Incoming Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senators Dick Durbin, Kent Conrad, Judd Gregg, Robert Bennett, and Ken Salazar are going on a junket to South America and just can’t reschedule to attend former President Ford’s state funeral on Friday.
Incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will miss the state funeral for former President Gerald Ford at the Capitol Rotunda on Saturday night, opting instead to lead a delegation to South America with an expected stop at the Machu Picchu Inca ruins.
Reid, D-Nev., left Wednesday afternoon from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland with a bipartisan group of five other senators, including Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the incoming assistant majority leader, for what has been described as a weeklong visit to Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru.
The highlight of the trip is said to be separate meetings with the presidents of the three nations, with the last one scheduled in Peru on Tuesday morning.
“They would be difficult to cancel,” Reid spokesman Jim Manley said via mobile phone as the congressional delegation took off in a U.S. military plane.
The senators are also scheduled to be in Cuzco, Peru, on Sunday, which would give them an opportunity to view the nearby Inca ruins and anything else in advance of New Year’s Eve.
Manley said the senators opted to skip Ford-related ceremonies over the next few days because of the long-scheduled meetings with the South American presidents, noting that U.S. relations with some of the countries are in need of improvement.
One of the memorable things President Ford said upon coming into office in 1974 was this:
“My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over. Our Constitution works. Our great republic is a government of laws and not of men. Here, the people rule. … As we bind up the internal wounds of Watergate, more painful and more poisonous than those of foreign wars, let us restore the Golden Rule to our political process and let brotherly love purge our hearts of suspicion and of hate.” – On becoming president, August 1974.
The Golden Rule, which has obviously been lost on these five Senators, is to treat others as you would want them to treat you. Their decision to go on their trip rather than attend President Ford’s funeral is so disrespectful, not to mention classless. However, if it had been Jimmy Carter’s funeral on Friday, I have a feeling they would have had no problem rescheduling this trip.
Captain Ed is just as disgusted, especially since it’s customary for the leaders of all the three branches of government to attend funerals of former presidents:
Baloney. It’s not hard to cancel; all one has to do is to contact the consulates of those nations and explain that when one of our former Presidents pass away, elected leadership is expected to attend the funeral. Nor is it the case that Ford died after they left the country, as the junket started with an afternoon flight today.