Statement from President Clinton on the Passing of Martin McGuinnessStatement
Hillary and I were saddened to learn of the death of Martin McGuinness, who devoted his life to his beloved Northern Ireland. When he decided to fight for peace, Martin was calm, courageous, and direct. And when he gave his word, that was as good as gold. As Sinn Fein’s chief negotiator, his integrity and willingness to engage in principled compromise were invaluable in reaching the Good Friday Agreement. In the years that followed, he played an even more important role in ensuring that the peace would last—personally overseeing the arms decommissioning, joining the new government as the first Education Minister, and later serving as Deputy First Minister, and doing it all with a sense of humor and fairness that inspired both his friends and former foes. My lasting memory of him will be the pride he took in his efforts to improve disadvantaged schools in Unionist and Protestant communities. He believed in a shared future, and refused to live in the past, a lesson all of us who remain should learn and live by. May he rest in peace.
David Rockefeller was a consummate businessman, a great humanitarian, and a serious scholar. He was a kind, good man to all who met him. Hillary and I are grateful for his friendship and his remarkable life.
Throughout his life he used his fame and fortune to do good here and abroad. His many efforts included the establishment of the Council of the Americas five decades ago, which was instrumental in my administration’s efforts to alleviate the financial crisis in Latin America and boost trade in the Americas and the Caribbean. His tremendous support of arts and humanities in America gave millions of people in communities across the country the opportunity to experience our great heritage of painting, dance, music, and so much more. For these efforts and many others, I was proud to present him with our nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
We celebrate a long life well-lived and send our gratitude and prayers to his family and all who supported him on his remarkable journey.