Vice President Harris reflected on the notion by former Vice President Walter Mondale that his choice of a female running mate when he ran for president in 1984 opened “a new door to the future” upon news of his death at 93 on Monday evening.
Mondale in 1984 became the first major-party candidate to select a woman running mate, former New York Rep. Geraldine Ferraro, as the Democratic party’s vice presidential nominee, the first time a woman had been tapped for the role.
The Mondale-Ferraro ticket went on to lose to then-Republican nominee Ronald Reagan, but Mondale’s vice presidential pick paved the way for Harris, who more than 30 years later would make history as the first female vice president after winning the 2020 election alongside President BidenJoe BidenGraham: ‘I could not disagree more’ with Trump support of Afghanistan troop withdrawal Obama, Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley team up to urge communities of color to get coronavirus vaccine Biden to hold second meeting with bipartisan lawmakers on infrastructure MORE.
Harris also reflected on her personal relationship with Mondale, writing that he was “so generous with his wit and wisdom over the years.”
She confirmed that she spoke with Mondale a few days ago, where she said she thanked him for his service and steadfastness.
“Each time I open my desk drawer and see his signature there, alongside the signatures of 11 other Vice Presidents, I will be reminded of and grateful for Vice President Mondale’s life of service,” Harris wrote.
Harris also reflected on the precedent Mondale set in the vice president’s office.
“Under President Jimmy CarterJimmy CarterBiden: Between a rocket and a hard place? Dealing with Iran: Will Joe Biden be the new Jimmy Carter? G. Gordon Liddy, central figure in Watergate scandal, dies at 90 MORE, Vice President Mondale transformed the Office of the Vice President. He brought the President and the Vice President closer together, re-defining the relationship as a true partnership,” Harris wrote.
“Vice President Mondale worked side by side with President Carter as the two endeavored to end the arms race, promote human rights, and establish peace,” she added.
“I will miss him dearly, and my heart is with his family today. I hope they find comfort in knowing that he is with his beloved wife, Joan, and daughter, Eleanor, now—and that his legacy will live on in all of us,” Harris wrote.
A family spokesperson confirmed on Monday evening that Mondale died peacefully of natural causes, while surrounded by his immediate family at his home in downtown Minneapolis.
Before serving as vice president, Mondale represented Minnesota in the Senate, and served as Minnesota’s attorney general.
After his time in the White House, Mondale was tapped by the Clinton administration to serve as ambassador to Japan.
In a farewell letter to his staff that was sent after his death, Mondale told his current and former team “I wanted to let you know how much you mean to me. Never has a public servant had a better group of people working at their side!” according to Axios.
“Together we have accomplished so much and I know you will keep up the good fight,” he continued.
Mondale also gave a nod to President Biden, writing in the note that, “Joe in the White House certainly helps.”