WASHINGTON, Dec. 30 — Vice President Dick Cheney on Saturday praised former President Gerald Ford for leading the nation through a “crisis that could have turned to catastrophe.”
“It was this man, Gerald R. Ford, who led our republic safely through a crisis that could have turned to catastrophe,” Cheney said. “We will never know what further unravelings, what greater malevolence might have come in that time of furies turned loose and hearts turned cold. But we do know this: America was spared the worst. And this was the doing of an American President. For all the grief that never came, for all the wounds that were never inflicted, the people of the United States will forever stand in debt to the good man and faithful servant we mourn tonight.”
Cheney spoke at the state funeral of Ford, who died Tuesday, Dec. 26, at his home in Rancho Mirage, Calif. He was 93.
“This President’s hardest decision was also among his first. And in September of 1974, Gerald Ford was almost alone in understanding that there can be no healing without pardon,” Cheney said. “The consensus holds that this decision cost him an election. That is very likely so. The criticism was fierce. But President Ford had larger concerns at heart. And it is far from the worst fate that a man should be remembered for his capacity to forgive.”