Dianne Feinstein passed away last night at her home in Washington, D.C. The California senator was 90 years old and was currently serving her fifth term in the U.S. Senate, having first been elected in 1992. RIP.
GOP leader and self-proclaimed “Grim Reaper of the Senate” Mitch McConnell paid tribute to Feinstein this morning, calling her a “trailblazer” and a “dear colleague and friend.”
“Dianne was a trailblazer, and her beloved home state of California and our entire nation are better for her dogged advocacy and diligent service,” he said on the Senate floor, adding that he and his wife, Elaine Chao, “will also remember and cherish a friendship of 30 years we were fortunate to share with Dianne.”
“So today I know the entire Senate family is gathering around Sen. Feinstein’s loyal staff. Our thoughts and prayers are with Dianne’s daughter, Katherine, her granddaughter, Eileen, the entire Feinstein family and with all who mourn our dear colleague and friend,” he added.
While it’s kind of McConnell to send his condolences to Feinstein’s family and staff, many have been reminding the 81-year-old senator about something he said in regards to his “dear colleague and friend” just a few months before her passing.
In April, he announced that under no circumstances would Republicans allow Democrats to replace her on the Senate Judiciary Committee when she was out for several months recovering from shingles.
“Let’s be clear,” he said on the Senate floor. “Senate Republicans will not take part in sidelining a temporarily absent colleague off a committee just so Democrats can force through their very worst nominees.”
At the time, people were calling on Feinstein to retire before her term ended in 2024 given her advanced age and deteriorating health, and the fact that she hadn’t been able to work in months.
But McConnell made it clear that if she were to do so, he would use it as an opportunity to stonewall the Senate Judiciary Committee from getting anything done. And so Feinstein stuck around.
Until last night.
When she died.
McConnell himself has recently faced calls to retire after suffering multiple falls, including one that led to a concussion which resulted in him needing to be hospitalized for several days, as well as two freeze-ups in front of reporters that left people concerned about his health.
In response, his office released a doctor’s note that ruled out any grave diagnoses and he gave a private presentation to members of his staff about his health.
Here’s what folx have been saying about him this morning…
Before you go, check out this video of Feinstein announcing to reporters that Harvey Milk and George Moscone had been assassinated in 1978.
At the time, Feinstein was serving as president of San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors. She was one of the first to find Milk after he was shot and tried to stop the bleeding by putting her finger through his bullet wound. She later described it as one of the hardest days of her life.