President Obama on Tuesday evening attended the funeral of longtime friend and former adviser Cassandra Quin Butts, who died suddenly last week from leukemia.
Butts, 50, was a classmate of Obama’s at Harvard Law School. She worked on the president’s transition team and as a deputy White House counsel before he nominated her in February 2014 to serve as ambassador to the Bahamas.
But she died before the Senate held a vote on her confirmation, with a total of 835 days elapsing between the day she was nominated and the day she died.
The delay drew renewed interest after Butts’s death.
“All Cassandra wanted to do was serve her country,” Valerie Jarrett, an aide to Obama, told New York Times columnist Frank Bruni.
Butt’s nomination was blocked by Republican senators, including Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — Colin Powell's death highlights risks for immunocompromised The Senate confirmation process is broken — Senate Democrats can fix it Australian politician on Cruz, vaccines: 'We don't need your lectures, thanks mate' MORE (Texas) and Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Altria - House debt vote today; Biden struggles to unite Arkansas legislature splits Little Rock in move that guarantees GOP seats The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate nears surprise deal on short-term debt ceiling hike MORE (Ark.), over unrelated issues.
Cotton put a hold on Butts and two other ambassadorial nominees over a Secret Service leak of private information about a member of Congress.
Knowing of Butts’s relationship with Obama, he eventually lifted holds on the other two nominees, but not her, in order to anger the president, she told Bruni.