Dianne Feinstein remembered as a trailblazer and pioneer as tributes pour in after senator’s death

Dianne Feinstein remembered as a trailblazer and pioneer as tributes pour in after senator’s death

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Washington — A flood of tributes are pouring in following the death of California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, as Senate colleagues on both sides of the aisle, lawmakers in the House and high-ranking government officials laud the trailblazing career of the longest-serving woman in the Senate.

Feinstein, who was 90, died at her home in Washington, D.C., after experiencing a spate of health issues that left her absent from the Senate for roughly three months earlier this year. She cast her final vote in the Senate on Thursday morning.

Here are some of the notable tributes released following her death:

President Biden

“Senator Dianne Feinstein was a pioneering American. A true trailblazer,” President Biden said in a statement. 

The president recalled his time serving alongside Feinstein in the Senate, including on the Judiciary Committee, which Mr. Biden chaired, and said he had a “front row seat” to her accomplishments on the panel.

Democratic Sen. Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois, Dianne Feinstein of California and Joe Biden of Delaware speak during a Senate hearing on Nov. 13, 1993.
Democratic Sen. Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois, Dianne Feinstein of California and Joe Biden of Delaware speak during a Senate hearing on Nov. 13, 1993.

Maureen Keating/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images


“Dianne made her mark on everything from national security to the environment to protecting civil liberties. She’s made history in so many ways, and our country will benefit from her legacy for generations,” Mr. Biden said.

“Often the only woman in the room, Dianne was a role model for so many Americans — a job she took seriously by mentoring countless public servants, many of whom now serve in my Administration. She had an immense impact on younger female leaders for whom she generously opened doors,” the president said. “Dianne was tough, sharp, always prepared, and never pulled a punch, but she was also a kind and loyal friend, and that’s what Jill and I will miss the most.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer

As the Senate convened Friday morning, the Democratic leader held a moment of silence for Feinstein. Her desk was draped in a black cloak with a vase of white roses, a longtime Senate tradition when a senator dies.

“Sen. Dianne Feinstein was one of the most amazing people whoever graced the Senate, whoever graced the country,” Schumer said in remarks on the Senate floor. “She had so many amazing, wonderful qualities wrapped up in one incredible human being. She was smart, she was strong, she was brave, she was compassionate. But maybe the trait that stood out most of all was her amazing integrity.”

The majority leader praised Feinstein as a “giant in the Senate” who served as a role model for women across the country. The women in the Senate “stand on Dianne’s shoulders,” Schumer said, choking up at moments.

“Dianne didn’t just push down doors that were closed for women,” he said. “She held them open for generations of women after her to follow her.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell celebrate National Seersucker Day at the U.S. Capitol on June 11, 2015, in Washington, D.C.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell celebrate National Seersucker Day at the U.S. Capitol on June 11, 2015, in Washington, D.C.

Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Haspel


McConnell, the Republican leader, said California and the nation “are better for [Feinstein’s] advocacy and diligent service.”

“She was an incredibly effective person at every line and at every level, and she was at all of those levels on the way to the Senate,” he said in remarks on the Senate floor.

Following Schumer and McConnell, Feinstein’s Democratic and Republican colleagues spoke to pay homage to the senator. They were joined on the Senate floor by members of California’s congressional delegation.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy

Speaking at the Capitol, the speaker of the House and fellow Californian honored Feinstein for her advocacy for their state and her long record of accomplishments.

“As California’s longest-serving senator, Sen. Feinstein broke barriers, and blazed a trail for women. Her career was, by any standard, historic,” McCarthy said. “Speaking personally, I worked with the senator for quite some time.”

McCarthy recalled working with the senator on a 2016 water bill, saying: “We come from different parties, we have different philosophies, but we put our state first.”

The speaker said Feinstein’s role as the first woman to serve as mayor of San Francisco “inspired women from both sides of the aisle to seek elected office, and to have their voices heard.”

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi, the former House speaker who still represents San Francisco, called Feinstein a “pillar of public service.”

“Her indomitable, indefatigable leadership made a magnificent difference for our national security and personal safety, the health of our people and our planet, and the strength of our Democracy,” she said in a statement. 

Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Nancy Pelosi arrive for an event in, San Francisco on Oct. 27, 2006.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Nancy Pelosi arrive for an event in, San Francisco on Oct. 27, 2006.

Michael Macor/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images


Pelosi noted Feinstein’s history-making roles as the first female mayor of San Francisco and first woman to lead the Senate Intelligence Committee.

“Dianne’s extraordinary career will continue to inspire countless young women and girls to pursue public service for generations to come,” she said.

Sen. Chuck Grassley

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa called Feinstein “a true public servant” and said the two had a “wonderful working relationship” when he chaired the Judiciary panel and she was the ranking member as the committee’s top Democrat.

Feinstein “did an outstanding job representing” Californians,” he wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Hillary Clinton

“I’m deeply saddened by the passing of Dianne Feinstein,” former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote on social media. “She blazed trails for women in politics and found a life’s calling in public service. I’ll miss her greatly as a friend and colleague and send my condolences to all who loved her.”

Clinton and Feinstein served alongside one another in the Senate for eight years until Clinton was selected to lead the State Department.



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