Former President Bill Clinton spoke Saturday at a memorial service in Ligonier for Richard Mellon Scaife, the billionaire philanthropist and newspaper publisher who was the 42nd president’s onetime adversary. Mr. Scaife died July 4 at age 82.
Addressing staffers of Trib Total Media, the media company begun by Mr. Scaife, the former president spoke of the changed relationship between him and Mr. Scaife, who had been identified as the funder of efforts to discredit Mr. Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton by investigating their pre-White House financial dealings.
Mr. Clinton told the crowd “our differences are important” and “they help us to define who we are, but they don’t have to keep us at arm’s length from others.”
He said his changed relationship with Mr. Scaife could be a lesson in conflict resolution.
Mrs. Clinton had Mr. Scaife in mind when, during her husband’s political troubles, she spoke of “a vast right-wing conspiracy” attacking the Clinton presidency.
But by 2010, Mr. Scaife was reported to have become a six-figure contributor to the William J. Clinton Foundation, the ex-president’s charity to work on global improvements.
Mr. Scaife also welcomed Mrs. Clinton in 2008, when she was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, to a cordial editorial board meeting at his Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. By then, the rancor between them appeared to have evaporated, and the newspaper endorsed Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy.
Saturday’s memorial took place at Penguin Court, where Mr. Scaife grew up. He was the son of Alan and Sarah Mellon Scaife. His mother was the daughter of Richard Beatty Mellon and sister of Richard K. Mellon.
The Mellon family was one of the richest in America, making a fortune from its interests in banking, Gulf Oil Corp. and Alcoa.
The Associated Press contributed.