Apr 28, 2022
Madeleine Albright Eulogy from Speaker Nancy Pelosi 4/27/22 Transcript
Madeleine Albright Eulogy from Speaker Nancy Pelosi 4/27/22. Read the transcript here.
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Nancy Pelosi: (00:00)
Thank you, Congresswoman Slotkin for arranging for this special order and for just speaking so beautifully about Madeleine Albright, a person that we all loved so very, very much for so many years. And to hear you, a relatively new member of Congress but a woman in national security making your own mark in a significant way, recognize the greatness of Madeleine is just a joy, right, Steny, to us to see another generation of women leaders in security speaking about Madeleine.
Nancy Pelosi: (00:36)
Madeleine Albright was a … She was a stateswoman. She was a champion of national security in our country. She was the embodiment of the American Dream, her family coming when she was 11 years old, refugees to our shores. Her personal story is the makings of novels and movies and the rest. But she was fresh and frisky and she had a sense of humor that was wonderful.
Nancy Pelosi: (01:10)
I remember, Congresswoman Slotkin, the night that there was a debate in St. Louis when President Clinton was running for president. We had dinner after the debate and I said, “Well, Madeleine, are you interested in participating in the administration?” I was a relatively new member of Congress at the time. And she said, “Well, I don’t want to go overseas.” So I said, “I know what you want. You want to be ambassador to the UN,” because that would be of the stature and yet she did not want to go overseas.
Nancy Pelosi: (01:48)
She wanted to be home for all kinds of different reasons. What a magnificent ambassador she was for us to the United Nations, and then, as it would turn out, to become the first woman to be secretary of state. This is such an exalted position. Thomas Jefferson was secretary of state and Madeleine Albright was secretary of state.
Nancy Pelosi: (02:12)
As Congresswoman Slotkin may, she had boundless energy. Well, she was on the campaign trail after serving as secretary of state. On the campaign trail and, as you said, a rock star. She was a major attraction. People loved to see her.
Nancy Pelosi: (02:33)
I want to say, because my husband loved her so much. My husband Paul, who was a chairman of the board of the Georgetown School of Foreign Service for a couple decades I think, it seemed like a long time, he worshiped at the shrine of Madeleine Albright. When she would call me, if he had the phone first, I would have a hard time getting it away from her because he thought they were the best of friends.
Nancy Pelosi: (02:56)
She was my girlfriend in addition to being someone I admired so greatly. She would always call the day before your birthday because she wanted to be the first one to wish you happy birthday, which of course I was looking for. You know that, right? Looking forward to this year. And instead we would get this very sad news that she had, with all the dignity of Madeleine Albright, with all the warmth and greatness of her, be with her family right up to end. Alice, Anne and Katherine, thank you for sharing your mother with us and, again, to sister Kathy and her brother John.
Nancy Pelosi: (03:39)
Another thing I want to mention about her is … I don’t know how many of you were at the funeral of National Security Advisor Brzezinski. Two people spoke at his funeral in church. Some of us spoke afterward in the more informal setting. But two people spoke at his funeral: President Jimmy Carter and Secretary Madeleine Albright.
Nancy Pelosi: (04:10)
What a beautiful compliment to speak for another great American patriot born overseas and coming to America to make his mark. She spoke so beautifully about America and about patriotism, about civic responsibility and the contribution he made. But that she was chosen to make that speech with the president was really so clearly appropriate and great to hear her speak.
Nancy Pelosi: (04:45)
Now, she had a collection of pins and that she would always say when she’d go to give testimony or whatever to “read my pins.” Sometimes it would be an American eagle. You never knew what it might be. She even toured the country with her pins and people showed up to see Madeleine’s pins. Because she had something about her that was she knew how to connect with people, this great intellect and the rest.
Nancy Pelosi: (05:17)
I’d just go back to Paul in closing to say this: She taught at Georgetown for 40 years. For 40 years. You mentioned this next generation of young diplomats and the rest. They took such pride in her leadership, her service, her being a professor there, that, well, cooking up how we’re going to observe for 40 years and this or that, again, she had other plans to be in heaven and look down on all of us.
Nancy Pelosi: (05:47)
How wonderful it is that tomorrow many of her friends from Congress and all the … She made us all feel as if we were her best friend. I mean, I thought so. I mean, I think many of us thought that. So many of her loved ones, whether they were diplomats or people in service would be there to praise her as an ambassador to the United Nations and secretary of state. She represented our nation with great poise and distinction and brilliance on the world stage and worked relentlessly to keep Americans safe and America secure, as a trusted voice on foreign policy in those jobs and beyond.
Nancy Pelosi: (06:30)
“And beyond” because her influence extended long after her actual service in public office but also as a professor. She was quick to sound the alarm with the rise of autocracy, as you know. She wrote about that in her book. At home and abroad and a prescient warning that remains an important guide and resource today. Then as a professor at Georgetown, which we as the Pelosi family, we take great pride of. My husband went there; my kids went there; I have an honorary degree there, and we all feel associated with Madeleine. She shaped the next generation of leaderships, just as you said, by sharing her hard-earned wisdom and experience.
Nancy Pelosi: (07:13)
So tomorrow many of her loved ones, whether it’s from government, politics, security, academic world, friendship, girlfriends, hairdressers, wherever we’ve met together, her family first and foremost, which she loved so much, we’ll join Madeleine’s family and her loved ones to pay our final respects at her memorial at the glorious Washington National Cathedral.
Nancy Pelosi: (07:42)
I say “final respects.” Well, I meant final respects for tomorrow. We’ll be paying our respects to her in many things that are being planned already. The presence of so many members and diplomats at her memorial, and two presidents of the United States to speak at her service will be another testament to her monumental impact she made on our nation and the world.
Nancy Pelosi: (08:06)
I wish everyone would read the op-ed another secretary of state, a senator, a national figure, Hillary Clinton, wrote about Madeleine Albright. They were kindred spirits. They loved each other very much. They worked together with great respect for each other and for our country in such a beautiful way. Please, if you can, go to, well, New York Times and read what the secretary of state … I think she may be speaking tomorrow. I don’t know what the program is, but I think she may be speaking tomorrow too.
Nancy Pelosi: (08:46)
So God truly blessed America with the life and the service and the leadership and the goodness of Madeleine Albright. May she forever rest in peace. And again, thank you, Congresswoman Slotkin, for affording us all the opportunity to pay our respects to our dear Madeleine, Madame Ambassador, Madame Secretary, Madeleine Albright.