Biden praises Sen. Dianne Feinstein as defender of American values at San Francisco memorial

Members of the public line up single file to await their turn to pay their respects as the...
Members of the general public line up single file to await their flip to pay their respects because the casket of the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein rests within the Rotunda of Metropolis Corridor in San Francisco, Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023.(Jessica Christian/San Francisco Chronicle through AP)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — President Joe Biden praised the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Thursday as a pricey pal and a lady of deep integrity who fought to guard what was necessary to America: freedom, civil liberties, safety and the U.S. Structure.

“She was all the time powerful, ready, rigorous, compassionate. She all the time served the individuals of California and our nation for the fitting causes,” Biden mentioned in recorded video remarks performed at Feinstein’s memorial outdoors San Francisco Metropolis Corridor.

Roughly 1,500 invited friends have been on the non-public service, the place two giant screens confirmed images of Feinstein through the years. Visitors seated in white chairs sweltered on an unseasonably sizzling day because the U.S. Navy Blue Angels flight crew soared overhead, sometimes interrupting audio system with the roar of their jets.

The flight demonstration squadron is within the metropolis as a part of Fleet Week, an annual San Francisco celebration began by Feinstein in 1981 when she was mayor.

Vice President Kamala Harris and Senate Majority Chief Chuck Schumer have been scheduled to ship remarks, together with Feinstein’s granddaughter, Eileen Mariano, who will converse for household.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a former San Francisco mayor, and former Gov. Jerry Brown have been within the viewers.

The service marks the tip of two days of occasions within the metropolis that launched Feinstein’s political profession.

On Wednesday, tons of of mourners streamed into Metropolis Corridor to pay their respects, honoring Feinstein as fearless, sensible and the glue who saved town collectively after two surprising political assassinations.

Many mentioned they’d by no means met her however needed to honor an indefatigable public servant who fought to degree the enjoying subject for ladies, members of the LGBTQ+ neighborhood and racial minorities.

Feinstein died early Friday at her dwelling in Washington, D.C., of pure causes, mentioned Adam Russell, a spokesperson for her workplace. She was 90.

Feinstein was one in all California’s first two ladies U.S. senators, a job she first gained alongside Barbara Boxer in 1992, dubbed the ” Yr of the Girl.”

Feinstein spent a lot of her profession within the U.S. Senate however will probably be often known as the perpetually mayor of San Francisco, a job she inherited in tragedy. She was president of the Board of Supervisors in November 1978 when a former supervisor assassinated Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk, town’s first overtly homosexual supervisor, at Metropolis Corridor.

Feinstein, who discovered Milk’s physique, turned performing mayor and gained election twice to function mayor till 1988.

Georgia Otterson, 76, a well being care administrator, mentioned Feinstein wasn’t as politically liberal as she would have appreciated, however the late mayor earned her respect with how she saved the heartbroken metropolis collectively.

“We have been all mourning collectively, holding candles. If reminiscence serves me, Joan Baez sang,” Otterson mentioned of an impromptu march that night time from the traditionally homosexual Castro District to Metropolis Corridor. “And he or she held us up.”

As a centrist Democrat, Feinstein was criticized by individuals on the left, together with for her assist for the demise penalty, and in her later years, for working with Republicans. However the straight, white girl largely earned the gratitude of a metropolis that celebrates its racial and sexual range.

She steered San Francisco by the HIV and AIDS disaster, bringing consideration to an epidemic ignored by President Ronald Reagan. She additionally secured federal and personal funding to avoid wasting town’s iconic cable vehicles from demise by deterioration.

Feinstein led town because it performed host to the Democratic Nationwide Conference in 1984. One other San Francisco custom — “Fleet Week” — was began by Feinstein in 1981, and this 12 months’s annual celebration of air reveals, naval ships and navy bands is devoted to her.

Whereas Feinstein’s profession despatched her to Washington, she remained deeply concerned within the affairs of San Francisco, town the place she was born and raised. She typically referred to as her successors — together with Newsom — to complain about potholes or trash and to supply recommendation and encouragement.

Breed recalled trying as much as Feinstein when she was a Black child rising up in public housing and enjoying the French horn in a center college band that carried out usually at mayoral occasions.

“She was so pleased with us and he or she mentioned so, and he or she took the time to speak to us, categorical how superb we have been and to remind us that we have been her band,” Breed mentioned at a information convention the day after Feinstein’s demise.

Mourners Wednesday expressed their pleasure in Feinstein.

“She saved shifting on up. I used to be pleased with her, very pleased with her,” mentioned Dorothy Hudson, 81, a retired federal authorities worker. “She was very sort, very sensible. She opened doorways as much as let individuals know, ‘You are able to do it.’”

San Francisco native Cari Donovan positioned a bouquet of purple and pink lilies and daisies on the ground earlier than the casket. She lingered, crying quietly over a lady she by no means knew however who was so necessary to her life.

“She championed and fought for the rights of so many individuals,” Donovan mentioned. “I’m so grateful. And I actually simply needed her household to know the way a lot she meant to me.”

The social employee mentioned she talked to her 28-year-old daughter concerning the battles Feinstein fought in order that youthful generations of girls might dream larger. “She was a lioness.”


AP researcher Randy Herschaft in New York and author Christopher Weber in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *