Longtime Democrat Nevada Senator Harry Reid died last week at the age of 82, and with the announcement of official memorial plans comes the somewhat surprising news that former President Barack Obama will deliver a eulogy in tribute, as the Las Vegas Sun reports.
According to the outlet, Reid’s funeral will take place on the morning of Saturday, Jan. 8 at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas’ downtown area, and it is an event certain to attract a large number of dignitaries from far and wide.
In the aftermath of Reid’s death, Obama was among those who posted fond remembrances of the lawmaker and Democratic Party power player on social media, noting that as the 82-year-old Nevadan’s cancer battle neared its end, his wife asked former colleagues to send letters she might read to her husband during his last days.
According to an Instagram post in which Obama shared the contents of the letter he penned to Reid, the former president praised the former senator’s leadership skills and thanked him for his generosity and encouragement.
“As different as we are, I think we both saw something of ourselves in each other – a couple of outsiders who had defied the odds and knew how to take a punch and cared about the little guy,” Obama told Reid about their time working collaboratively in D.C., adding, “we made for a pretty good team.”
In recognition that Reid likely did not have a great deal of time remaining, Obama said, “Enjoy your family, and know you are loved by a lot of people, including me,” continuing, “The world is better cause of what you’ve done.”
Though some may have viewed them as an odd political pairing, Reid and Obama successfully joined forces in fighting for the passage of the Affordable Care Act, with the then-majority leader bringing all of his persuasive powers to bear in order to secure the full complement of Democrat votes required.
Reid, who passed away at age 82, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer back in 2018, having retired from Congress in 2017 after also serving in the U.S. House of Representatives and holding a number of roles in Nevada state government, as Fox News noted.
The upcoming service at which Obama is slated to speak will be open only to Reid’s family members, former colleagues, and invited guests, according to ABC News, with a livestream of the proceedings made available to members of the public.