The Washington Post

Betty Ford dies at 93: Reaction

We’ve gathered statements from presidents and first ladies current and former on the death of former first lady Betty Ford.

President Obama’s can be found here.

From left, Barbara Bush and fellow former first ladies Betty Ford, Nancy Reagan and Rosalynn Carter in 2003. (REED SAXON/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Statement from former president Jimmy Carter (Thanks to commenter fakedude2 for pointing out that we had the wrong comment in here):

Rosalynn and I are saddened by the passing of Betty Ford, a close personal friend and our frequent partner in bipartisan efforts to improve mental health and substance abuse care in our nation. She was a remarkable political spouse, whose courageous candor helped forge a new era of openness after the divisiveness of the Vietnam War and Watergate. Also, as a tireless advocate for women's rights and social justice, she helped to improve the lives and opportunities of countless women and children.  We extend our deepest sympathy to her family at this difficult time. 

Statement from former president George H.W. Bush:

Barbara and I loved Betty Ford very much. She was a wonderful wife and mother; a great friend; and a courageous First Lady. No one confronted life's struggles with more fortitude or honesty, and as a result, we all learned from the challenges she faced. The Betty Ford Center, which already has helped change the lives of thousands of people, will be her lasting legacy of care and concern. We were proud to know her. We were proud to call her a friend. We will miss her very much.

Statement from former president Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton:

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of First Lady Betty Ford. As a staunch advocate for women’s and equal rights, Betty paved the way for generations of women to follow. Her courage, compassion, and commitment to helping our nation deal with drug and alcohol abuse and addiction helped thousands of people to a successful recovery and in the process she helped to save countless families. .... Betty was a remarkable woman whose legacy will live on in people around the country whose lives are longer and better because of her work. Our thoughts and prayers are with her children and grandchildren. We are grateful for her contributions, and for her kindness to us. We will miss her.”

Former first lady Nancy Reagan:

“I was deeply saddened this afternoon when I heard of Betty Ford’s death. She has been an inspiration to so many through her efforts to educate women about breast cancer and her wonderful work at the Betty Ford Center. She was Jerry Ford’s strength through some very difficult days in our country’s history, and I admired her courage in facing and sharing her personal struggles with all of us. My love and deepest sympathy go out to the entire Ford family at this very sad time.”

Watch a video of Betty Ford’s legacy

See photos of her life and career

Read a story about her bravery from 2006

Read her take on time in the White House

Reaction on Twitter:

Terri Rupar is The Post's national digital projects editor.


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