ATLANTA (NEXSTAR/AP) — Tributes are pouring in for Rosalynn Carter, a global humanitarian and the wife of former President Jimmy Carter, after she passed away Sunday at age 96.
The Carter Center said the former first lady “died peacefully, with family by her side” at her home in Plains, Georgia. She was living the dementia and suffered many months of declining health before her death, according to the Carter Center.
First lady Jill Biden and other political figures, including past presidents, are among those who have released statements honoring Rosalynn Carter. Their reactions are below.
Joe and Jill Biden
President Joe Biden said the Carters “brought grace” to the White House. “He had this great integrity, still does. And she did too,” Biden told reporters as he was boarding Air Force One to leave Norfolk, Virginia on Sunday night. “God bless them.” Biden said he spoke to the family and was told that Jimmy Carter was surrounded by his children and grandchildren.
Later the White House released an official joint statement from the president and first lady Jill Biden saying that Carter inspired the nation. “She was a champion for equal rights and opportunities for women and girls; an advocate for mental health and wellness for every person; and a supporter of the often unseen and uncompensated caregivers of our children, aging loved ones, and people with disabilities,” the statement said.
George W. Bush
Former President George W. Bush called Carter a woman of dignity and strength. “There was no greater advocate of President Carter, and their partnership set a wonderful example of loyalty and fidelity. She leaves behind an important legacy in her work to destigmatize mental health. We join our fellow citizens in sending our condolences to President Carter and their family,” Bush said in a statement with former first lady Laura Bush.
U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff
U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff of Georgia said Carter would be remembered for her compassionate nature and passion for women’s rights, human rights and mental health reform. “The State of Georgia and the United States are better places because of Rosalynn Carter,” Ossoff said in a statement. “I join all Georgians and Americans in mourning her loss. May Rosalynn Carter’s memory be a blessing.”
Donald and Melania Trump
Former President Donald Trump said Carter “earned the admiration and gratitude” of the nation. “From her days as a U.S. Navy spouse, to the Georgia Governor’s Mansion, to her tenure as First Lady of the United States, and her later work at the Carter Center and volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, she leaves behind a legacy of extraordinary accomplishment and national service,” Trump said on Truth Social.
In a separate statement, former first lady Melania Trump said Carter leaves behind a meaningful legacy. “We will always remember her servant’s heart and devotion to her husband, family, and country. May she rest in peace,” Melania Trump said on X, formerly Twitter.
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Carter was a “saintly and revered public servant” driven by faith, compassion and kindness. “On the world stage, First Lady Carter was a pioneer. Her historic, high-stakes diplomatic mission to Latin America in 1977 ushered in a new era of engagement in the region. Two years later, she became the first sitting First Lady to address the World Health Organization, where she argued that mental health was an aspect of physical health – and that health is a human right,” Pelosi said in a statement offering condolences to the Carter family.
Bill and Hillary Clinton
Bill and Hillary Clinton called Carter a champion of human dignity. “Thanks to her mental health advocacy, more people live with better care and less stigma. Because of her early leadership on childhood immunization, millions of Americans have grown up healthier. And through her decades of work at the Carter Center and with Habitat for Humanity, she spread hope, health, and democracy across the globe,” the former president and former secretary of state said in a joint statement. “Rosalynn will be forever remembered as the embodiment of a life lived with purpose.”
Former first lady Michelle Obama said Rosalynn Carter sometimes offered advice during their periodic lunches at the White House. “She reminded me to make the role of First Lady my own, just like she did. I’ll always remain grateful for her support and her generosity,” Obama said in a statement. “Today, Barack and I join the world in celebrating the remarkable legacy of a First Lady, philanthropist, and advocate who dedicated her life to lifting up others. Her life is a reminder that no matter who we are, our legacies are best measured not in awards or accolades, but in the lives we touch.”
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens called Carter “the model for the modern day First Lady” and praised her work promoting mental health awareness. “She never stopped advocating for mental health or the Equal Rights Amendment,” Dickens said in a statement. “The city of Atlanta joins all of Georgia — and mourners around the world — as we honor the memory of First Lady Rosalynn Carter.”
Habitat For Humanity
Habitat For Humanity, the Georgia-based charity that the Carters worked for tirelessly, said its members were saddened by the former first lady’s passing. “She was a compassionate and committed champion of #HabitatforHumanity and worked fiercely to help families around the world,” the group said on X.
U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams
Carter’s legacy will be a source of pride for her home state, said U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams, the chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia. “Georgia Democrats join our entire state, nation, and the world in mourning the loss of former First Lady Rosalynn Carter – an extraordinary humanitarian, fierce mental health advocate, and beloved daughter of Georgia,” Williams said.
The Carter Center
The Carter Center said it was grieving the passing of its co-founder. “She was a partner in good deeds with her husband, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, as they traversed the globe to strengthen democracy, resolve conflicts, advance human rights, and eliminate debilitating diseases after their time in the White House,” the center said in a statement. In lieu of flowers, Carter requested that those wishing to honor her memory do so through contributions to the Carter Center’s Mental Health Program or the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers, the statement said.