After Herman Cain’s death on Thursday due to the coronavirus, tributes poured in for the former Republican presidential candidate, businessman, associate minister and U.S. Navy rocket scientist.
“Herman Cain has gone to be with the Lord,” a headline on Cain’s website read. “Herman Cain – our boss, our friend, like a father to so many of us – has passed away. He’s entering the presence of the Savior he’s served as an associate minister at Antioch Baptist Church in Atlanta for, and preparing for his reward.”
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Many who knew and looked up to Cain also praised him after hearing the news of his death, including former White House press secretary for President George W. Bush, Ari Fleischer.
“He’s one of the nicest guys I ever met,” Fleischer said on “America’s Newsroom.” “I mean he just had this affability, this kindness, this hearty big laugh about him. I mean he lit up rooms where he was. He’s just an enchanting man and it’s a reminder… to all of us: take corona[virus] seriously. This virus, especially if you’re elderly, if you have underlying conditions, it can kill you… people need to wear their masks.”
Cain attended President Trump’s controversial, indoor and largely maskless rally in Tulsa, Okla., late June without wearing a face covering. He was diagnosed with the coronavirus soon after.
Fleischer said, “He was somebody that so many people could just turn to, look to, and say, ‘See, our ideas can be attractive across the board. We can be a party that’s growing.”
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Fox News host Sean Hannity tweeted: “I’m heartbroken at the news about my dear friend Herman Cain. He brought joy, happiness, light & his signature smile & laugh to all. A great American Patriot who loved this country. All our Love & prayers to his family, as he enters God’s Kingdom and the mansion prepared for him.”
Cain for years had been a Fox News contributor. Suzanne Scott, CEO of Fox News Media, said in a statement: “We are saddened to hear of the passing of our former contributor Herman Cain. Herman was a part of the FOX News Media family from 2013-2018 providing insightful commentary and perspective. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”
Ellen Carmichael, the former communications director for Cain’s presidential campaign, also spoke out.
“I’m very saddened to learn of the passing of my former boss, Herman Cain. I’m bracing for the cruelty online about how he deserved to get COVID and die because of his politics. We’re living in a dark time. But, they didn’t know him. I did,” she said in a tweet.
Carmichael added: “His American Dream story is one for the history books. Overcame absolute destitution, genuine discrimination, stage IV cancer and so much hardship in between. Rose up the ranks of America’s biggest corporations, advised presidential campaigns, chaired a Federal Reserve bank… After successfully completing college as a ‘Morehouse Man,’ a distinction he proudly carried with him his whole life, he became a rocket scientist for the Dept. of the Navy. Quite literally a rocket scientist. I guess that degree in math and physics helped.”
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Daily Beast columnist Matt Lewis shared an ad for Cain’s presidential campaign that was based on an interview he did with the former candidate in 2011. In the clip, Cain talks about how he and his brother once drank from both the “white” and “colored” drinking fountains in segregated Atlanta, Ga. Their reaction: “The water tastes the same! What’s the big deal?!”
“I’ll be thinking about it today,” Lewis said of the interview. “RIP!”
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany penned a tribute to Cain as well.
“Herman Cain embodied the American Dream and represented the very best of the American spirit,” she said. “Our hearts grieve for his loved ones, and they will remain in our prayers at this time. We will never forget his legacy of grace, patriotism, and faith.”
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, who eventually beat out Cain, a top voice in the Tea Party, in a crowded competition for the 2012 GOP nomination, referenced Cain’s catchy “nine-nine-nine” tax plan. Cain would have imposed a 9 percent personal income tax, a 9 percent federal sales tax and a 9 percent corporate tax.
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“Saddened that Herman Cain—a formidable champion of business, politics and policy—has lost his battle with Covid. St. Peter will soon hear ‘999!’ Keep up the fight, my friend,” Romney said.
Following his 2012 presidential bid, Cain launched T.H.E. New Voice, an advocacy group focused on tax reform, energy policy and national security, and became a frequent commentator on news outlets.
Cain first entered politics in 1996, when he was a senior adviser on Bob Dole’s presidential campaign.
Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.