“It takes a really, really good friend to get me to come back to Washington,” Bush joked to the nearly 100 people seated in the Old Senate Chamber.
His successor, Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidThe Hill's 12:30 Report Hopes rise for law to expand access to experimental drugs If Gorsuch pick leads to 'crisis,' Dems should look in mirror first MORE (D-Nev.), often went toe to toe with Frist. But on Wednesday, Reid offered high praise: “I have never served [in Congress] with anyone who cared more about other people than Bill Frist.”
The event was attended by Frist family members, lawmakers and Republican VIPs, including former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and former Sens. Fred Thompson (Tenn.), Elizabeth Dole (N.C.) and Norm Coleman (Minn.). ITK spotted at least a dozen Republican senators, as well most of the members of the Tennessee delegation in the House.
In his remarks, Frist made an appeal for more “citizen legislators” in Congress. “We need to encourage [politically inexperienced] people to run for office.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellMcConnell: Trump's speech should be 'tweet free' Protesters crash McConnell's speech The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Ky.) delivered a few closing words, after which Frist’s kids pulled back a blue curtain to reveal the portrait by artist Michael Shane Neal. Lots of clapping, as well a few “ahhs,” ensued before guests made their way next door to the Mansfield Room for a swanky reception.