Rep. Walter Jones Jr. (R-N.C.), a one-time supporter of the Iraq War who regretted his vote after attending the 2003 funeral of a Marine killed in action, died Sunday, on his 76th birthday.
Jones broke his hip in a fall, and after suffering complications, entered hospice care in January. His congressional office did not release the cause of death. In November, he was re-elected to his 13th term in office.
Jones initially supported the Iraq War, and after France opposed the invasion, he was behind the push to have House cafeterias call French fries “Freedom Fries,” NBC News reports. In 2003, he attended the funeral of a Marine killed in the war, Sgt. Michael Blitz, and he then regretted his vote, Jones told The Associated Press in 2017. Jones wrote a letter of apology to Blitz’s family, and went on to write 11,000 more to the relatives of service members who died in the war.
A conservative Christian, he opposed abortion, same-sex marriage, and taxes, and in 2017, was the only Republican in the House to vote against the GOP tax bill, saying it would add too much to the national debt. “He was a public servant who was true to his convictions and who will be missed,” Gov. Roy Cooper (D-N.C.) said in a statement. Catherine Garcia