Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) became the first Democrat office holder to officially call for the resignation of ailing 89-year-old Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), posting a statement online within the hour after a report by Politico that suggested Feinstein, out with shingles for over a month, might finish out her term in California without returning to Washington, D.C. The Senate does not allow proxy voting, which has hurt the Democrats’ efforts to railroad Biden judicial nominees through the Senate in Feinstein’s absence.
Sen. Feinstein looked like death warmed over at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, September 27, 2018.
Khanna posted at 5:19 p.m. EDT, “It’s time for @SenFeinstein to resign. We need to put the country ahead of personal loyalty. While she has had a lifetime of public service, it is obvious she can no longer fulfill her duties. Not speaking out undermines our credibility as elected representatives of the people.”
Khanna was joined by Minnesota Democrat Rep. Dean Phillips thirty minutes later, “I agree with @RoKhanna. Senator Feinstein is a remarkable American whose contributions to our country are immeasurable. But I believe it’s now a dereliction of duty to remain in the Senate and a dereliction of duty for those who agree to remain quiet.”
I agree with @RoKhanna. Senator Feinstein is a remarkable American whose contributions to our country are immeasurable. But I believe it’s now a dereliction of duty to remain in the Senate and a dereliction of duty for those who agree to remain quiet. https://t.co/lvaHhLJYsi
— Rep. Dean Phillips (@RepDeanPhillips) April 12, 2023
Politico’s report headlined, “Feinstein’s condition sparks concern she won’t return to the Senate” was published at 4:34 p.m. EDT (excerpt):
After Dianne Feinstein announced she’d contracted the shingles in early March, her staff said she planned to return to the Senate within a matter of weeks.
But multiple Democrats close to her, as well as top-ranking congressional aides, are growing increasingly concerned that she may never come back to Washington at all.
The 89-year-old California senator has spent nearly two months away from the Capitol, including a stint in the hospital before returning home to San Francisco to recover.
Three people who have visited with the senator in recent weeks or been briefed on her status say her diagnosis appears to have taken a heavy toll on her. Other confidants, including two who have seen or spoken with the senator, underscored that they are still hopeful she could serve out the nearly two years that remain in her term. But neither of those people, who addressed the sensitive matter on condition of anonymity, indicated they were confident she would be able to do so from Washington.
Indeed, aides and confidants are currently offering up no firm timeframe for her return to a chamber where Democrats are sorely missing her vote. And Feinstein’s own spokesperson Adam Russell said that there was no update on her expected date to return to Washington, though at least one associate to the senator said she’s “making good progress in her recovery.”
Feinstein is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee where her absence has put a hold on Biden nominees to the federal bench as the committee now stands at ten Democrats and ten Republicans. A majority vote is needed to move a nominee out of committee to the Senate floor. TGP’s Cristina Laila reported Monday on mounting concerns by Democrats about Feinstein.
California Governor Gavin Newsom said in 2021 he would appoint a Black woman to replace Feinstein is she was not able to complete her term. Feinstein announced in February she would not run for reelection 2024. Newsom made the announcement on MSNBC, the AP reported (excerpt):
California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday he’d appoint a Black woman to replace U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein if she retires before her term is up in 2024.
“We have multiple names in mind and the answer is yes,” he said during a interview on MSNBC’s “The ReidOut” when asked if he would name a Black woman to the seat if given the chance.
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), who is Black, has already announced her candidacy for Feinstein’s Senate seat, as have fellow California House Democrats Adam Schiff and Katie Porter, both of whom are White. Whomever is appointed would hold the seat until the winner of the 2024 election is sworn in on January 3, 2025.
Born in 1933, Feinstein was first elected in 1969 to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. in 1978, she became mayor of San Francisco, succeeding the assassinated Mayor George Mocsone. Feinstein was mayor until 1988 and won a special election to the U.S. Senate in 1992, winning reelection in 1994, 2000, 2006, 2012 and 2018.
Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) retweeted without comment on Tuesday a call by Democrat activist Victor Shi for Feinstein to resign, “Every Democrat should be calling on Dianne Feinstein to resign. I respect her tremendously, but missing 60 of the 82 votes taken in the Senate this year so far is inexcusable. Time to pass the torch to someone else. California deserves better than this.”
Every Democrat should be calling on Dianne Feinstein to resign. I respect her tremendously, but missing 60 of the 82 votes taken in the Senate this year so far is inexcusable. Time to pass the torch to someone else. California deserves better than this.
— Victor Shi (@Victorshi2020) April 11, 2023
On Tuesday, pro-Trump Republican attorney Eric Early announced his candidacy for Feinstein’s seat. Early has run unsuccessfully in several previous elections in Democrat controlled California, Fox News reported (excerpt):
Pro-Trump GOP attorney Eric Early announced Tuesday he’s running for Senate in California, joining three high-profile Democratic candidates vying to replace Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.
Early — who ran unsuccessfully for state attorney general in 2022 and 2018 and for Congress against Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., in 2020 — launched his campaign with a video promising to secure the border and fight fentanyl, bring back manufacturing jobs and put parents, not”far-left extremists,” in charge of their children’s education.
On his campaign website, Early says he will “stand-up to the Socialist woke interests that control Washington, DC, fight to preserve and protect our Democracy, and fight for ordinary Californians who are being left behind.”
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