From President Joe Biden to Hillary Clinton, high-profile Democrats across the country have spoken in recent days about Feinstein and their close relationships with her.
National, state and local political figures will pay tribute to her one last time before she’s buried in San Francisco — the city where her political career started five decades ago.
Biden is not attending and will pre-record his remarks. Vice President Kamala Harris is speaking, though she had a lukewarm relationship with Feinstein. Gov. Gavin Newsom will be there but won’t address the mourners despite his close friendship.
Another notable attendee: Sen. Laphonza Butler, who was appointed by Newsom to serve much of the remainder of Feinstein’s term.
What to know about the speakers and their relationships with Feinstein:
President Joe Biden: Biden and Feinstein served together in the U.S. Senate for 17 years and worked closely together during the Obama administration, when he was vice president. He’s known for his touching eulogies so much so that he’s earned the title of eulogizer in chief. That makes the president’s decision to not attend her funeral — and instead send recorded remarks — all the more unusual. It’s particularly odd considering Biden flew to California last week to raise money for his reelection campaign. He also traveled to the United Kingdom for Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral last year — but won’t make a similar trip for California political royalty.
Vice President Kamala Harris: This is perhaps the most unexpected speaker on the list. While Feinstein and Harris both hailed from San Francisco political circles and served together in the Senate, they weren’t close allies. Feinstein had a tepid response when Harris emerged as a presidential contender early in her Senate career. “She just got here,” Feinstein told reporters in 2017. There was also an infamous 2004 incident when Feinstein chastised then-District Attorney Harris at a police officer’s funeral for not seeking the death penalty for his killer.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer: Schumer and Feinstein served together in the Senate for 24 years, and he praised her as a “hero” after her death. During a speech on the Senate floor last week, Schumer spoke about Feinstein’s integrity and relentless work to pass major legislation, including a ban on assault weapons in the 1990s. The two worked closely on the bill when Schumer was a member of the House.
Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi: Pelosi and Feinstein spent decades as the pillars of San Francisco’s outsize influence over national politics. They shared a deep friendship. There’s perhaps no other contemporary who traced such a similar path to Feinstein’s in terms of being a trail-blazing woman in California politics. In recent months, Pelosi was among Feinstein’s most ardent defenders as critics called on the senator to resign amid concerns about her cognitive issues and declining health. Last week, Pelosi delivered a tearful tribute to Feinstein on the House floor, surrounded by the state’s Democratic delegation.
Mayor London Breed: In one sense, Breed is an odd addition to the speaker’s list because she and Feinstein didn’t appear to have a close relationship. She’s speaking when many of Feinstein’s closer allies — Newsom, Clinton and former Gov. Jerry Brown in particular — are not. But Feinstein and Breed share a common throughline as mayors of San Francisco. Feinstein became mayor in 1978 after the assassinations of Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk. Breed, during a City Hall news conference last week, praised Feinstein for leading the city through such a dark chapter. “She stepped up, she led with courage,” Breed said.
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