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U.S. politicians offer condolences after assassination of Japan's Abe

President Joe Biden said he was “stunned, outraged, and deeply saddened" by Abe's death.
Then-Vice President Joe Biden and then-Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
Then-Vice President Joe Biden with then-Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Sept. 26, 2014. Spencer Platt / Getty Images file

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden, former U.S. presidents, members of Congress and other officials expressed shock and offered their condolences Friday after the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe.

In a statement Friday morning, Biden said he was "stunned, outraged, and deeply saddened" by Abe's death, calling it a tragedy for Japan. Biden and Abe worked closely together during the Obama administration, meeting in Tokyo and Washington.

"He was a champion of the Alliance between our nations and the friendship between our people," Biden said in a statement. "The longest serving Japanese Prime Minister, his vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific will endure. Above all, he cared deeply about the Japanese people and dedicated his life to their service. Even at the moment he was attacked, he was engaged in the work of democracy."

Biden said there are "many details that we do not yet know, we know that violent attacks are never acceptable and that gun violence always leaves a deep scar on the communities that are affected by it. The United States stands with Japan in this moment of grief."

At a White House event Friday afternoon where Biden signed an executive order aimed at safeguarding abortion access, the president said Abe's death isn't likely to have any profound impact on Japanese security or stability. Biden said he would go to the Japanese embassy in D.C. later in the day to sign a condolences book.

Vice President Kamala Harris said Abe was a "close friend" of the U.S., which she said stands "with our Japanese friends in honoring him and condemning this horrific act of violence."

After news spread that Abe was shot, former President Donald Trump wrote on his Truth Social website that the Japanese leader was a "true friend of mine" and that it was a "tremendous blow to the wonderful people of Japan."

"Few people know what a great man and leader Shinzo Abe was, but history will teach them and be kind," Trump wrote. "He was a unifier like no other, but above all, he was a man who loved and cherished his magnificent country, Japan. Shinzo Abe will be greatly missed. There will never be another like him!"

Former President Barack Obama posted a series of tweets saying he was "shocked and saddened" by the assassination of his friend.

"Former Prime Minister Abe was devoted to both the country he served and the extraordinary alliance between the United States and Japan," he said. "I will always remember the work we did to strengthen our alliance, the moving experience of traveling to Hiroshima and Pearl Harbor together, and the grace he and his wife Akie Abe showed to me and Michelle."

Former President George W. Bush said in a statement said he got to know Abe during his first time as prime minister in 2006, and "found him to be a decent and caring man." Bush said Abe was "a true patriot of his country who wanted to continue serving it."

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in remarks during the G20 Ministerial meeting in Bali, Indonesia, that the assassination was "profoundly disturbing" and that Abe "was a leader with great vision" and "was doing remarkable work even after being prime minister."

U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel said in a statement that Abe "was a leader ahead of his time. The public recognized that, which is why he was the longest-serving prime minister in modern Japanese history. A Japanese statesman. A world leader. A friend of America. The clarity of his voice will be truly missed. The United States has lost a trusted partner and an outspoken advocate for our shared ideals."

Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, tweeted that Abe "was a remarkable leader for the people of Japan, a strong partner for the United States, and a global champion of democracy."

His House counterpart, Rep. Adam Smith, D-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said on Twitter that Abe led Japan "during a critical period for our two countries’ relationship — our thoughts are with his family and the Japanese people during this time of grief."

Several lawmakers shared photos of their in-person meetings with Abe.

"Tragic loss of one of Japan’s leading statesmen," Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, wrote on Twitter along with a photo.

"He was a great leader for his country and a good partner to the US," Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Tenn., wrote on Twitter along with a photo of herself with Abe.

Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., said in a statement that was outraged.

"His senseless assassination has shocked the world and stolen from freedom-loving people everywhere a great and true champion for democracy," he said in a statement. "Prime Minister Abe was an unapologetic believer in the power of democracy and one of the strongest voices in support of freedom across the Info-Pacific. He was particularly a champion for peace through strength, and stood up for Taiwan against Communist China’s aggression."