House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was caught off guard and visibly shaken when she was informed of Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer’s retirement at the end of a press conference Thursday.
Boxer had called Pelosi, presumably to tell her she was retiring, just before the press conference, but Pelosi was running late and didn’t take the call.
“What?” she said when a reporter broke the news to her as she was leaving the conference. Initially at a loss for words and apparently close to tears, she stared at the press in disbelief for a few seconds.
“That’s fine,” she said as she processed the news. “She called me and said she wanted to talk to me personally. I thought she maybe wanted to have dinner tonight or something. Oh my.”
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Boxer and Pelosi have served together in Congress for several decades, and they are close personal friends.
“Senator Boxer has been such a champion for the people of California and indeed for our entire country,” Pelosi said. “She has reached across the aisle she has reached across our state, which is a glorious state.”
“Her leaving will be a great loss to the Congress of the United States, the people of California and to our country,” she added.
“She’s really a great leader for our country,” she continued. “Small in size, but a giant in terms of her contribution to the country. I didn’t know.” (RELATED: California Democrat Barbara Boxer To Retire From Senate)
“It’s a real loss I think,” she said in conclusion, and wished Boxer well.
“Our family celebrations have been together over time, whether it’s weddings or babies, whatever. So, close personal friendship. And of course I wish the best for her in that regard, personally. Officially, I think it’s a big loss for the country, but she knows her time table.”
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