A bipartisan chorus of politicians are speaking out to honor former Sen. Mike Enzi in the wake of his sudden accidental death.
Enzi (R-Wyo.) was riding a bike near his home in Gillette, Wyo., Friday when he was badly injured and needed to be flown to UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland, Colo.
The senator’s family announced the 77-year-old’s death in a message on Enzi’s Twitter late Monday, in which they said he passed away “peacefully today surrounded by his family.”
By Tuesday, the tributes were pouring in.
“My deepest condolences to the family and many friends of former Senator Mike Enzi,” former President Donald Trump emailed. “He was a fine man who always put America first. He will be missed!”
“Mike was an absolute giant in our state and his sudden loss just months after retiring from the U.S. Senate is difficult for all of us to accept,” Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), who served alongside Enzi for four years in the House, said in a tribute to her fellow Wyoming lawmaker.
“Mike was a straight-shooter, an honest broker, and a soft-spoken but powerful advocate for the causes he cared deeply about,” she added. “Whether it was pushing for fiscal discipline as head of the Senate Budget Committee or fighting for the needs of Wyoming’s energy industry, Mike was always guided by principle and conviction.”
Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), who lost to Enzi in the 1996 GOP Senate primary, when both were running to fill a vacancy, honored his friend and former colleague as “one of the most consequential public servants of our time.”
“Whether he was serving as mayor of Gillette, in the Wyoming Legislature, or in the U.S. Senate, you could not have asked for a stronger champion for Wyoming and our country than Mike Enzi,” the No. 3 Senate Republican said, calling him “a problem solver through and through.”
Barrasso also touted Enzi’s championing of bipartisanship, noting that “[m]ore than 100 Enzi bills were signed into law by four U.S. presidents. Many passed with overwhelming bipartisan support.”
Tributes also came in droves from those on the left in the Senate who worked with Enzi, who was first elected in 1997 and retired at the start of 2021 to spend more time with his family.
“My heart hurts over the passing of Senator Mike Enzi as he was just beginning to enjoy his well-deserved retirement after decades of public service,” Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) tweeted Tuesday.
Coons, an ally of President Biden who sits in the commander-in-chief’s former Senate seat, recalled a story about his early days in the legislative body.
“When I first came to the Senate, Mike’s office was across the hall from mine. I thought our first dinner together would be brief — he seemed to be a man of few words — but we talked for hours & I discovered he was a thoughtful, deliberate, funny & decent man & we became good friends.”
Coons added that Enzi, “a faithful regular at our weekly Senate prayer breakfasts,” even continued taking part in retirement — albeit remotely.
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), the 2016 vice presidential nominee, remarked on how Enzi’s “low key kindness made him distinct among Senate personalities.”
Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) recalled, “Every time I met Mike Enzi in the halls of the Senate, he greeted me with a ‘Hi, neighbor.’ Mike was a good man who served the people of Wyoming well.”
“Rest In Peace, neighbor,” he added.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) called Enzi her “good friend” and highlighted their bipartisan work.
“Mike was a kind, kind person. He helped me pass one of my first bills when I was a brand new senator,” she wrote.
Enzi’s GOP colleagues did not hold back from paying their respects, either.
“Through decades of friendship & service, I was honored to learn from Mike. He cared about the future of our country in every way & kept a sharp eye on Congress’ fiscal responsibilities,” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) tweeted of his former colleague.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) encouraged the nation to follow Enzi’s lead and act with kindness.
“The nation will remember Mike Enzi as a man of integrity and character,” he wrote. “We would all do well to follow his example of treating others with respect and dignity.”