Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, Oldest Senate Member, Dies at Age 90

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, a Democrat who was elected to the Senate in 1992 and who was the oldest current member of the Senate, has died. She was 90.

Feinstein died on Thursday night at her home in Washington, D.C., her office said on Friday. Opening the Senate floor, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced that “earlier this morning, we lost a giant in the Senate.””Dianne Feinstein was one of the most amazing people who ever graced the Senate, who ever graced the country,” Schumer said, his voice cracking. “As the nation mourns this tremendous loss, we know how many lives she impacted and how many glass ceilings she shattered along the way.”

President Joe Biden, who served with Feinstein for years in the Senate, called her “a pioneering American,” a “true trailblazer” and a “cherished friend.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom will appoint a temporary replacement, and there is sure to be a spirited battle to succeed her.

Her death came after a bout of shingles sidelined her for more than two months earlier this year — an absence that drew frustration from her most liberal critics and launched an unsuccessful attempt by Democrats to temporarily replace her on the Senate Judiciary Committee. When she returned to the Senate in May, she was frail and using a wheelchair, voting only occasionally.

On Friday morning, her Senate desk was draped in black and topped with a vase of white roses. Senators gave tearful tributes as members of the California House delegation stood in the back of the chamber and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sat in the gallery with Feinstein’s daughter, Katherine.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell was one of several Republicans who gave tributes to the Democratic icon, calling her his 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,” McConnell said.

In addition to her daughter, Feinstein has a granddaughter, Eileen, and three stepchildren.

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