ATLANTA — On a day when Washington’s partisan divide felt as deep because it has in many years, lawmakers from each events gathered in an Atlanta church on Thursday to honor one of many U.S. Senate’s nice champions of bipartisanship, Johnny Isakson.
Mr. Isakson, a reasonable Georgia Republican who as soon as referred to as bipartisanship “a state of being,” was 76 when he died on Dec. 19, having retired prematurely from the Senate in 2019 due to well being issues. He was battling Parkinson’s illness.
In Washington on Thursday, most Republican legislators refused to participate within the commemorations of the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol by supporters of former President Donald J. Trump. However they got here collectively at Peachtree Street United Methodist Church, in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood, to honor Mr. Isakson.
Among the many attendees had been Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, and Senator Raphael Warnock, the Democrat who was elected to Mr. Isakson’s previous Georgia seat final January.
Senate majority chief Mitch McConnell, delivering phrases of remembrance, acknowledged that the funeral resonated in a spirit of comity that the Senate was as soon as recognized for, however that has currently turn out to be extra scarce.
“I haven’t seen this large of a bipartisan group of Senators collectively off the ground since September,” he stated. That, he stated, was the date of an annual, “Johnny Isakson barbecue lunch,” a social custom that Mr. Isakson began and that lawmakers have continued in his absence.
Former U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss, an previous buddy of Mr. Isakson’s, additionally delivered remarks, noting that in his farewell speech to the Senate, Mr. Isakson stated that he divided the world into two classes: pals and future pals.
Mr. Chambliss recalled that Mr. Isakson additionally quoted Mark Twain’s recommendation to do the correct factor, on the grounds that “It’s going to gratify some folks and astonish the remainder.”
Mr. Isakson held agency conservative beliefs, opposing the Reasonably priced Care Act and homosexual marriage, however he additionally bucked the celebration’s establishment at instances, and he was not afraid to publicly criticize Mr. Trump.
Alongside the way in which, he made quite a few pals in each events; Mr. Chambliss stated that former Georgia Governor Roy Barnes, a Democrat, as soon as quipped, “If all Republicans had been like Johnny Isakson, I might be a Republican.”
The pews had been filled with pals and admirers from each events, together with Mr. Barnes. The highest statewide elected officers in attendance included Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, each of whom are dealing with robust major challenges from pro-Trump challengers.
A people duo underscored the tone with a rendition of “Let There be Peace on Earth.” After they sang “God Bless America,” the mourners stood up en masse.