“We have lost an extraordinary woman and a friend,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski said on Friday, during her six-minute eulogy of San Francisco Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who died earlier in the day at the age of 90.
Murkowski, a Republican, spoke about how close she was to Democrat Sen. Feinstein and expressed her admiration for her.
It was a eulogy that also revealed just how clubby it is in Washington, D.C. The club of senators supersedes politics, and while there is a theater art to telling the people back home you that are on their side, lawmakers end up in an exclusive club that has its own ways and means for keeping the rank and file. It’s the dinners, the gifts, the little gestures that build relationships that appear to be more important than constitutional values. Feinstein was the author of anti-Second Amendment legislation that was signed by President Bill Clinton and that expired under President George W. Bush.
Murkowski, without mentioning the anti-gun law that so defined Feinstein, said there would be many opportunities in the days ahead “to reflect on the life and the contributions of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and as been noted, the significant legislation that she advanced over three decades here, what that meant to her state, to her constituents, really to her country, but also to us.”
Murkowski went on to note that Feinstein had assembled an extremely loyal staff.
“We acknowledge them at this same time, of this very significant loss of not only a colleague but as a friend. I think it’s important to note that here in the United States Senate, a place that can be so divisive at times, that true friendships actually exist,” Murkowski said, and then proceeded to tell stories of having dinners with Feinstein, and some of the chummy rituals that exist, such as the annual wearing of seersucker suits.
“The reality is the direct reminder of the spontaneous generosity of a woman. Dianne Feinstein was generous. she was gracious, she was thoughtful, she was kind,” Murkowski continued.
For many Alaskans, Murkowski standing pinned to a wall by Feinstein during the confirmation of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh is all they need to know about the San Francisco senator, but that appeared to be in the past and forgiven by Murkowski.
Feinstein’s body has been flown home to California on a U.S. military plane that left Andews Air Force Base near Washington D.C. to California, accompanied by Rep. Nancy Pelosi, along with the senator’s daughter Katherine Feinstein, and chief of staff James Sauls.
The funeral and memorial plans for Feinstein have yet to be announced, but meanwhile, California Gov. Gavin Newsom will soon appoint an interim senator, who he has said will be chosen based on racial and sex characteristics.