NATIONAL NEWS

Biden pays respects to former Pennsylvania first lady Ellen Casey, who died last week in Scranton

Aug 17, 2023, 7:44 AM | Updated: 2:12 pm

FILE - President Joe Biden walks to board Marine One at the White House, July 28, 2023, in Washingt...

FILE - President Joe Biden walks to board Marine One at the White House, July 28, 2023, in Washington. Biden is traveling to Pennsylvania Thursday to privately pay his respects to the mother of U.S. Sen. Bob Casey. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) — President Joe Biden privately paid his respects Thursday to the mother of U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, who died last week in Biden’s hometown of Scranton.

Biden arrived at St. Peter’s Cathedral before visiting hours for Ellen Casey, who also was a former first lady of Pennsylvania. She was 91, and the widow of Pennsylvania Gov. Robert P. Casey.

Talking to reporters before and after the flight, Biden said Ellen Casey was an honorable and decent woman. He said he wanted to attend her funeral Friday but had previously been scheduled to meet with the leaders of Japan and South Korea at the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland.

“I just want to show my respect to the family,” Biden said after arriving in Pennsylvania. He described the “enormous role” Ellen Casey had in his life, saying “her values were amazing.”

He added, “And every time I’d go to Scranton over the years, I’d stop and see her. She was a friend.”

The president’s motorcade drove through the blue-collar town he grew up in, passing motorways and streets named after him. His house was only blocks away from the Casey household. He flew to Camp David after leaving Pennsylvania.

Biden, 80, is no stranger to grief or loss, having lost his wife and infant daughter in a 1972 car accident. He lost his eldest son, Beau, to brain cancer in 2015. And he talks often about how these experiences have shaped who he is, first as a U.S. senator, then as vice president and now president.

Ellen Casey lost her husband, who served as governor in the late 80s through the early 90s, to an infection in 2000. The former Democratic governor rose to national prominence for his strong opposition to abortion, which often put him at odds with the Democratic Party.

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Biden pays respects to former Pennsylvania first lady Ellen Casey, who died last week in Scranton