By Will Banyan (Copyright © 23 March 2017)
The death of plutocrat David Rockefeller, at the very advanced age of 101 from congestive heart failure on the morning of the 20th of March, has been greeted with a predictable display of grief and adulation from the usual suspects. Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for example, issued a statement praising Rockefeller as a “kind, good man” as well as a “consummate businessman, a great humanitarian and serious scholar.” Another former President, George H.W. Bush, mourned the passing of a “wonderful friend”, and “one of the most generous philanthropists.” Former New York mayor and fellow billionaire Mike Bloomberg considered himself “fortunate to call him a good friend…” Another New York billionaire, President Donald Trump, however, was strangely silent.
Recipients of Rockefeller’s largesse, both financial and reputational, have also publicly affirmed their grief. The president of Harvard University, Drew Faust, lamented the loss of “a visionary leader, an extraordinary philanthropist, and a devoted friend.” “The world has lost a giant of a man,” claimed the Asia Society in its statement. According to the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), Rockefeller had been “a pillar of the institution for more than half of a century” and a “beloved and widely respected man for all those who knew him”, who would be “truly missed.” CFR President Richard N. Haass tweeted that it was a “Sad day” for the CFR “family” with the passing of a “wonderful man”:
Sad day for @CFR_org family w the passing of David Rockefeller: member since 1941, former board chair, & so much more. Truly a wonderful man
— Richard N. Haass (@RichardHaass) March 21, 2017
Rockefeller University “deeply” mourned the loss of its “beloved friend and benefactor, Honorary Chairman, and Life Trustee” and praised Rockefeller’s “inspired leadership, extraordinary vision, and immense generosity.” The Synergos Institute (founded by his daughter Peggy Dulany) grieved at the loss of “a close friend and a source of great inspiration.” International House (co-founded by his father John D. Rockefeller Jr), noted the passing of its Honorary Trustee whose “legacy of leadership and support is deep and enduring…” “David Rockefeller led an extraordinary life – making an indelible, positive mark on our world as a leader in philanthropy, the arts, business and global affairs” said Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JP Morgan Chase (JP Morgan had merged with Rockefeller’s former bank, Chase Manhattan, in 2000 ). He was “one of the world’s most distinguished business statesmen as well as a leading philanthropist”, according to the Japan Society; and a “visionary philanthropist” in the brief statement from the Population Council about the loss of its “long-time supporter.”