Longtime Fox News White House correspondent Wendell Goler died this week at age 70.
“Wendell was a gifted correspondent, a wonderful colleague and a FOX News original whose reporting was respected on both sides of the aisle. We extend our deepest condolences to his wife Marge and his entire family,” Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott said.
Goler joined Fox News Channel in 1996 as a correspondent and worked his way up to senior White House foreign affairs correspondent. The Washington D.C.-based reporter covered five presidents over 28 years at the White House during his storied career.
Fox News senior vice president and D.C. bureau chief Bryan Boughton said he will always treasure the days he spent working with Goler and will “cherish what he taught me” about journalism.
“Wendell Goler was a great journalist and helped build Fox News from the ground up,” Boughton said. “Wendell was a professional who pursued all angles of a story so he could report it fairly. Wendell was also a great guy to work with and brought a lot of fun and smiles to our long hours of travel around the world.”
Goler provided in-depth coverage of political reactions to major events, including the acquittal of George Zimmerman and the Congressional hearing on the attack of the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
He reported on numerous international and national news stories, ranging from the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton to conflicts in Syria. The veteran reporter also covered the political response to the fall of Lehman Brothers in 2008, the recession in 2007 and the Bush Administration’s post-9/11 policy changes.
“Wendell was one of the first people hired at Fox News Channel. He did consistently solid and balanced work and his reports were always well-crafted, clear and easy to follow. He was also an exceptionally nice man and a valued friend. RIP,” longtime colleague Brit Hume said.
Hume reported that the “apparent cause was kidney failure” when he announced his friend’s passing on Twitter.
Goler was beloved by colleagues and Fox News chief political anchor Bret Baier called him “the consummate professional” who had a great sense of humor and will be sorely missed.
“He took his job seriously and did it very well. I can remember his hourly live shots on the White House lawn in the busiest news times. And when I anchored with him there, I would ask before air, ‘Do you have a question for me to ask you?’” Baier recalled. “He would give me one but then add, ‘Don’t start playing ‘Stump the Chump.’”
“My condolences to his family,” Baier added.
“Wendell was quite simply a professional at his craft on camera and a true gentleman off camera,” Fox News anchor Ed Henry said. “I have been getting emails and texts all morning from our many producers on the White House beat who respected his kindness as a mentor, and we’ll all miss his warmth and sense of humor.”
Fox News chief White House correspondent John Roberts said that one of his favorite memories of Goler – other than their shared love of Harleys -- occurred when they were on a Bush campaign trip aboard a Pan Am charter.
“Wendell was never much for rules, and didn’t appreciate the officious nature of the flight attendants. As we landed one day, Wendell stood up while we were taxiing to retrieve his gear. The flight attendant told him to sit down. It happened two more times as we approached the terminal,” Roberts said. “As we pulled up to the gate, Wendell got up yet again and the flight attendant scolded him, ‘Sir, you have to remain seated until… [at that moment, the plane stopped].’ Wendell looks at her with daggers in his eyes and says, ‘Until the plane stops?’”
“Classic Wendell,” Roberts said.
Goler secured interviews with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and First Lady Laura Bush, served as a panelist at the South Carolina Republican Presidential Debate in 2007 and at the New Hampshire Republican Presidential Debate in 2007. He was at the forefront of FNC's presidential election coverage from its inception in 1996 until he retired from the network in 2014.
Former White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest called Goler’s last day on the job “historic” and said his professionalism would be missed as the briefing room erupted with applause.
“It’s been a hell of a ride,” Goler said on his final day. “I think I’m a dinosaur here… I saw a golden age of broadcasting and kind of lived through it.”
Before joining FNC, Goler served as a White House correspondent for the Associated Press Broadcast Services and a reporter for several local Washington, D.C. stations, including WJLA-TV and WRC-TV.
Goler graduated with a B.A. from the University of Michigan.