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'Defender of democracy': Maryland leaders pay tribute to Madeleine Albright

Madeleine Albright calls Trump 'most undemocratic president in modern American history'
Posted at 5:10 PM, Mar 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-23 19:30:57-04

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Madeleine Albright was considered to be a trailblazer and a leader, according to lawmakers.

She was the first woman to be U.S. Secretary of State.

On Wednesday, she died at the age of 84 years old, her family confirmed.

RELATED: Madeleine Albright, first female secretary of state, passes away at age 84

Maryland leaders paid tribute to Albright, who was appointed secretary of state in 1997 by President Bill Clinton.

“Madeleine was a trailblazer, a leader, a seasoned diplomat, and a champion for all humankind," said Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen. "After arriving in the United States as a refugee, she always fought to give a voice to the voiceless. And she was a force to be reckoned with. Even in the challenges we face today, her lasting impact is still so present – including in her advocacy for Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic to join NATO. Her amazing life is a testament to her courage and leadership. This is a devastating loss – Katherine and I send our deepest condolences to her family.”

Albright was born in Prague and immigrated to the U.S. as a refugee in 1948.

Before being appointed secretary of state by President Clinton, she was the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations.

"Our nation has lost a true champion if freedom and democracy," said Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan. "As Secretary of State and long after, Madeleine Albright was a fierce defender of American interests and a great advocate for our alliances in the world. We shared a profound commitment to bipartisanship that was apparent every time I spoke with her."

Gov. Hogan said he recently appointed Secretary Albright's daughter, Judge Anne K. Albright, to the Court of Special Appeals in Maryland. She was confirmed by the Maryland Senate on Tuesday.

Judge Albright had been judge on the Montgomery County Circuit Court.

"I have no doubt that she will continue Secretary Albright's legacy of public service," Gov. Hogan said.

Maryland Rep. David Trone called Albright a "fierce champion of democracy."

"Madeleine Albright was a fierce champion of democracy, a source of courage amid hardship, and a stalwart of American ideals," Rep. Trone said. "Now more than ever, we must learn from her lessons on standing up for what is right in the face of great adversity. We must honor her legacy."

Maryland Rep. Anthony Brown said United States "lost a defender of democracy, peace and human rights."

"A trailblazer, an intellectual, a formidable diplomat," Rep. Brown said. "Madeleine Albright was clear-eyed about the world and how we could build a better one, together. Her story is our story. Our country has lost a defender of democracy, peace, and human rights."

Albright had a shining moment in Baltimore. She threw out the ceremonial first pitch at a Baltimore Orioles game in 1997.

President Bill Clinton issued a statement, saying, "Hillary and I are profoundly saddened by the passing of Madeleine Albright. She was one of the finest Secretaries of State, an outstanding UN Ambassador, a brilliant professor, and an extraordinary human being."

Madeleine Albright throws out first pitch at Orioles game

The former president said he spoke with Albright on the phone just two weeks before her passing.

"She never lost her great sense of humor or her determination to go out with her boots on, supporting Ukraine in its fight to preserve freedom and democracy," Clinton wrote.

Albright earned the Medal of Freedom in 2012 and is remembered for being at the forefront of foreign policy after the Cold War.

She was a professor at Georgetown University at the time of her death.

Albright’s family said she died from cancer, while surrounded by family and friends.