Former Sen. Bob Dole receives Congressional Gold Medal

Laurie Kellman
Associated Press

Washington – Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole knew the art of the deal before President Donald Trump published the 1987 book of the same name.

The two shared a stage under the Capitol dome Wednesday as Dole, 94, accepted Congress’ highest civilian honor, the Congressional Gold Medal, for his World War II service and decades of work in the House and Senate. Trump, meanwhile, was mired in a pitched budget battle that threatened to end in a government shutdown at week’s end.

The president nonetheless saluted Dole as “a patriot” and gave tribute to Dole’s struggle as a veteran who worked his way back from a grievous shoulder wound he suffered in Italy.

“He knows about grit,” said Trump.

But it was Dole’s penchant for working across the aisle that earned him his latest award, according to the legislation.

“Bob Dole was known for his ability to work across the aisle and embrace practical bipartisanship,” reads the legislation Trump signed in September. Some of the award’s 300 recipients include George Washington and Mother Teresa, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Much of his best thinking, Dole said, was done while gazing from his West-facing offices in the Capitol the length of the Mall, past the Washington Memorial and across the Potomac River to Arlington, Virginia.

“Leadership,” he said in remarks read by wife Elizabeth, “begins with the long view.”

Bob Dole, who sometimes called himself “Bob Dole,” displayed some trademark wit in thanking speakers for the “kind words.”

“They’re probably not true, but they’re kind.”