|24th United States Ambassador to the United Nations|
July 23, 2004 – January 20, 2005
|President||George W. Bush|
|Preceded by||John D. Negroponte|
|Succeeded by||John R. Bolton|
|United States Senator|
December 27, 1976 – January 3, 1995
|Preceded by||Stuart Symington|
|Succeeded by||John Ashcroft|
|37th Attorney General of Missouri|
January 13, 1969 – December 27, 1976
|Governor||Warren E. Hearnes|
|Preceded by||Norman Anderson|
|Succeeded by||John Ashcroft|
|Special Counsel for the|
United States Department of Justice
September 9, 1999 – c. July 23, 2000
|Appointed by||Janet Reno|
|Deputy||Edward L. Dowd Jr.|
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Position not in use|
John Claggett Danforth
September 5, 1936
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
|Relatives||William Danforth (brother)|
William H. Danforth (grandfather)
|Education||Princeton University (AB)|
Yale University (JD, MDiv)
John Claggett Danforth (born September 5, 1936) is an American politician, attorney and diplomat who began his career in 1968 as the Attorney General of Missouri and served three terms as United States Senator from Missouri. In 2004, he served briefly as United States Ambassador to the United Nations. Danforth is an ordained Episcopal priest.
Early life and education
Danforth was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Dorothy (Claggett) and Donald Danforth. He is the grandson of William H. Danforth, founder of Ralston Purina. Danforth's brother, William Henry Danforth, was former chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis.
Danforth attended St. Louis Country Day School and went on to Princeton University, where he graduated with an A.B. in religion in 1958 after completing a 111-page long senior thesis titled "Christ and Meaning: An Interpretation of Reinhold Niebuhr's Christology." He received degrees from Yale Law School and Yale Divinity School in 1963.
Before Danforth entered Republican politics, Missouri was a reliably Democratic state with both its U.S. Senators and Governors regularly being Democrats. Prior to Symington, Danforth's seat in the Senate was held by Democratic Party heavyweights Thomas Hart Benton and Harry S. Truman.
Missouri Attorney General
Danforth was elected in 1968 at the age of 32 to be Missouri Attorney General, the first Republican elected statewide in 40 years. On his staff of assistant attorneys general were future Missouri Governor/US Senator Kit Bond, future US Attorney General John Ashcroft, future US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and future federal judge D. Brook Bartlett. Danforth was reelected in 1972.
United States Senate
In 1976 Danforth ran to succeed Symington, who was retiring. Danforth ran in the Republican primary with little opposition. The Democrats had a three-way battle among Symington's son James W. Symington, former Missouri Governor Warren Hearnes and rising political star Congressman Jerry Litton. Litton and his family were killed when the plane taking them to their victory party in Kansas City crashed on take off in Chillicothe, Missouri. Hearnes, who had finished second in the primary far behind Litton, was appointed to challenge Danforth. Danforth easily won even though Jimmy Carter of Georgia won Missouri in the presidential election.
Danforth was narrowly re-elected in 1982. His Democratic opponent was Harriett Woods, a relatively unknown state senator from the St. Louis suburb of University City, Missouri. She was active in women's rights organizations and collected union support and was a cousin of Democratic Senator Howard Metzenbaum of Ohio. Her speeches denounced Ronald Reagan's policies so vigorously that she ran on the nickname, "Give 'em Hell, Harriett" (a play on the famous Truman phrase). Danforth won 51% to 49%. Woods' pro-choice stance was said to be the reason for her defeat.
In 1988 Danforth defeated Democrat Jay Nixon, 68%–32%. Danforth chose not to run for a fourth term and retired from the Senate in 1995. He was succeeded by former Missouri governor John Ashcroft. Nixon would later be elected to Danforth's former post as Missouri Attorney General, and in 2008, Governor of Missouri.
In January 2001, when Missouri Democrats lined up against John Ashcroft to oppose his nomination for U.S. Attorney General, Danforth's name was invoked. Former U.S. Senator Tom Eagleton reacted to the nomination by saying: "John Danforth would have been my first choice. John Ashcroft would have been my last choice."
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During the 1991 Senate hearings regarding U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, Danforth used his considerable clout to aid the confirmation of Thomas, who had served Danforth during his state attorney general years and later as an aide in the Senate.
A political moderate, Danforth was once quoted as saying he joined the Republican Party for "the same reason you sometimes choose which movie to see — [it's] the one with the shortest line."
On July 1, 2004, Danforth was sworn in as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, succeeding John Negroponte, who left the post after becoming the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq in June. Danforth is best remembered for attempts to bring peace to the Sudan but stayed at the UN for just six months. Danforth was mentioned as a successor to Secretary of State Colin Powell. Six days after the announcement that Condoleezza Rice was going to take the position Danforth submitted his resignation on November 22, 2004, effective January 20, 2005. Danforth's resignation letter said, "Forty-seven years ago, I married the girl of my dreams, and, at this point in my life, what is most important to me is to spend more time with her."
In 1995, following his departure from the Senate, Danforth again became a partner at the Bryan Cave law firm.
In 1999, Democratic U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno appointed Danforth to lead an investigation into the FBI's role in the 1993 Waco Siege. Danforth appointed Democratic U.S. Attorney Edward L. Dowd Jr. for the Eastern District of Missouri as his deputy special counsel for Waco. He also hired Bryan Cave law firm partner Thomas A. Schweich as his chief of staff. Assistant U.S. Attorney James G. Martin served as Danforth's director of investigative operations for what became known as the "Waco Investigation" or "Danforth Report."
In July 2000, Danforth's name was leaked as being on the short list of potential vice presidential nominees for Republican candidate George W. Bush, along with Michigan Governor John Engler, New York Governor George Pataki, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge, and former American Red Cross President Elizabeth Dole. Just one week before the 2000 Republican National Convention was to be held in Philadelphia, campaign sources said that Dick Cheney, the man charged with leading the selection process for the nominee, had recommended Danforth to Bush for the position. However, despite growing speculation that Danforth was Bush's final pick, Bush selected Cheney himself for the position. Bush wrote in his autobiography Decision Points that Danforth would have been his choice if Cheney did not accept.
In September 2001, President Bush appointed Danforth a special envoy to Sudan. He brokered a peace deal that officially ended the civil war in the South between Sudan's Islamic government and Christian-backed Sudanese rebels, but elements of that conflict still remain unresolved (as has the separate Darfur conflict). The Second Sudanese Civil War ended in January 2005 with the signing of a peace agreement. Due to the Islamic-dominated North's military superiority, most of southern Sudan was decimated and the Christian rebels, and thus Danforth, achieved little for their efforts.
On March 30, 2005, Danforth wrote an op-ed piece in The New York Times critical of the Republican party. The article began: "By a series of recent initiatives, Republicans have transformed our party into the political arm of conservative Christians...". He also penned a June 17, 2005 piece headlined "Onward, Moderate Christian Soldiers".
On May 9, 2012, Danforth became part of a group, led by son-in-law and Summitt Distributing CEO Tom Stillman, that took over ownership of the St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League.
Contributing to the anthology Our American Story (2019), Danforth addressed the possibility of a shared American narrative and focused on the "great American purpose" of "hold[ing] together in one nation a diverse and often contentious people." He encouraged continued work "to demand a functioning government where compromise is the norm, to integrate all our people into one indivisible nation, and to incorporate separated individuals into the wholeness of the community." Danforth is a member of the Reformers Caucus of Issue One.
From the mid-2000s, Danforth was a mentor and political supporter of Josh Hawley, who became Attorney General of Missouri in 2017 and U.S. Senator in 2019 with Danforth's encouragement; Danforth also supported Hawley's presidential ambitions. In the wake of the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol and Hawley's efforts to challenge the 2021 United States Electoral College count, Danforth said that supporting Hawley in the 2018 election "was the worst mistake I ever made in my life".
- Resurrection: The Confirmation of Clarence Thomas, Viking, 1994
- Faith and Politics: How the "Moral Values" Debate Divides America and How to Move Forward Together, Viking Press, 2006. ISBN 978-0670037872
- The Relevance of Religion: How Faithful People Can Change Politics. Description & preview. Random House, 2015. ISBN 978-0812997903
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: John Danforth|
- "Current Biography Yearbook". H. W. Wilson Company. Sep 17, 1992. Retrieved Sep 17, 2020 – via Google Books.
- Danforth, John Claggett (1958). "Christ and Meaning: An Interpretation of Reinhold Niebuhr's Christology". Cite journal requires
- Wright, Robin (June 5, 2004). "Danforth tapped for U.N. post / Former senator has reputation for integrity". SFGATE.
- "WHMC-St. Louis sl 490 Woods, Harriett F. (1927– ), Addenda, 1975–1983". Umsl.edu. 1982-01-12. Archived from the original on 2010-06-01. Retrieved 2010-03-16.
-  Archived March 3, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
- Tran, Mark (Nov 15, 2004). "Names in the frame". Retrieved Sep 17, 2020 – via www.theguardian.com.
- "New Voices – Conservative Voices". Deathpenaltyinfo.org. Archived from the original on 2007-07-13. Retrieved 2013-12-30.
- "Danforth, Cheney on Bush V.P. Short List". ABC News. 2006-01-06. Retrieved 2019-03-07.
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2005-01-28. Retrieved 2004-12-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Christine Lagorio (2004-12-02). "U.N. Rep Resigns After 5 Months". CBS News. Retrieved 2010-03-16.
-  Archived January 12, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
- Bixler, Mark (12 Jan 2005). "HISTORIC PEACE AGREEMENT: Q&A / JOHN DANFORTH, former special envoy to Sudan 'Sudan could be a possible model' for all of Africa". Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
- "Text: Homily of former Sen. John Danforth at Reagan funeral". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- Danforth, John (March 30, 2005). "In the Name of Politics". The New York Times. Retrieved November 10, 2013.
- Danforth, John (June 17, 2005). "Onward, Moderate Christian Soldiers". The New York Times. Retrieved November 10, 2013.
- Miller, Zeke J. "GOP Politicians Call for Supreme Court to OK Gay Marriage".
- Claybourn, Joshua, ed. (2019). Our American Story: The Search for a Shared National Narrative. Lincoln, NE: Potomac Books. pp. 66–74. ISBN 978-1640121706.
- "Issue One – ReFormers Caucus". Retrieved 2019-11-07.
- St. Louis Walk of Fame. "St. Louis Walk of Fame Inductees". stlouiswalkoffame.org. Archived from the original on 8 October 2018. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
- "The Official Wings Of Hope Homepage". Wings-of-hope.org. Retrieved 2010-03-16.
- Sullivan, Sean. "John Barrow's one-of-a-kind ad campaign" – via www.washingtonpost.com.
- Lowry, Bryan (January 7, 2021). "'The biggest mistake I've ever made': Former Missouri Sen. Danforth rues mentoring Josh Hawley, blames him for Capitol riot". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
- Levine, Marianne. "Coons calls on Cruz and Hawley to resign". POLITICO. Retrieved 2021-01-08.
- "StackPath". cathedral.org.
Media related to John Danforth at Wikimedia Commons
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- UN Press release on becoming US Ambassador to the UN
| Attorney General of Missouri
|Party political offices|
Jean P. Bradshaw
| Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Missouri
1970, 1976, 1982, 1988
| United States Senator (Class 1) from Missouri
Served alongside: Thomas Eagleton, Kit Bond
| Chair of the Senate Commerce Committee
| United States Ambassador to the United Nations