Without ever speaking her name, Kevin de León jabbed relentlessly at Sen. Dianne Feinstein during the California Democratic Party convention on Saturday, painting his opponent’s record as hopelessly out of touch with the party’s values.
“Real leadership, moral clarity, is always doing the right thing, even when no one is watching. It should never take a primary challenge for California’s leadership to stand up for California values,” he said.
De León, the state Senate leader, has been mobilizing the party’s liberal wing in an underdog challenge to Feinstein, a 25-year veteran of the U.S. Senate. As both candidates vied this weekend for the Democratic endorsement, delegates received de Léon with much greater enthusiasm.
In a short address to the convention, de León said he was “never fooled into believing that Donald Trump can be a good president,” a reference to Feinstein’s much-criticized comment last summer that she believed the Republican could be a “good president” if he learned and changed.
Then de León launched into a list of policies he would never vote for, obliquely highlighting some of the most controversial moments of Feinstein’s tenure in the Senate: supporting school vouchers in Washington D.C., authorizing the Iraq War, and voting for a law that allows intelligence agencies to sweep up Americans’ communications without a warrant as they are spying on foreign nationals. De León also criticized Feinstein for using young undocumented immigrants as “bargaining chips” with Trump.
“I’m running because California’s greatness comes from acts of human audacity, not congressional seniority,” he said. “Who do you trust to have the courage of your convictions?”