By Matthew Holloway. Media: DC Enquirer.
Note: This article may contain commentary reflecting the author’s opinion.
Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) appeared to assert that sexism could be behind the growing calls for the resignation of the 89-year-old Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA), who has long been absent due to medical issues.
Reporting from The Washington Examiner states that Pelosi was asked to opine on recent suggestions from Congressman and fellow Democrat Ro Khanna (D-CA) that Feinstein should step down and her initial reaction was to suggest the senator’s gender rather than her age and infirmity were at issue.
She said Wednesday, “She deserves the respect to get well and be back on duty, and it’s interesting to me. I don’t know what political agendas are at work that are going after Sen. Feinstein in that way. I’ve never seen them go after a man who was sick in the Senate in that way,” according to the Examiner.
“Senator Feinstein has been a champion for California. For 20 years, I have been the leader or the speaker of the House fighting for California, and I have seen up close and firsthand her great leadership for our country and especially for our state of California,” she added.
Pelosi’s statements could suggest that the former Speaker, herself 83, may be suffering from a deficiency of memory, having forgotten the calls for senators like Harry Reid (D-NV), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), or even the voluminous calls for President Joe Biden to resign.
Feinstein has been recovering from a bout of shingles for the majority of this session of the Senate and to date has missed 60 of the 82 votes taken this year, per the Examiner.
Khanna observed in a tweet Wednesday that “personal loyalty” should be set aside and Feinstein should resign.
The congressman wrote, “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.”
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.
— Ro Khanna (@RoKhanna) April 12, 2023
The senator said in a statement that she is, “committed to the job” and has pledged to return, assuring supporters she is working from home.
“When I was first diagnosed with shingles, I expected to return by the end of the March work period. Unfortunately, my return to Washington has been delayed due to continued complications related to my diagnosis. I intend to return as soon as possible once my medical team advises that it’s safe for me to travel. In the meantime, I remain committed to the job and will continue to work from home in San Francisco,” she said in a statement.
Partner & senior political correspondent with Puck News Tara Palmeri replied to Khanna’s tweet that she’s “Hearing rumblings that she’s actually considering it.”
Should Feinstein step down, under California’s Assembly Bill 1495, Governor Gavin Newsom would appoint a successor, doubtlessly a Democrat, until the next “regularly scheduled” statewide election can be held to elect a new senator. The primary for that race will take place on March 5, 2024, and a general election on Nov. 5th allowing the appointee to serve for nearly a year.
Given the current political situation in California, it seems likely that Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) would likely be tapped to fill Feinstein’s role, and has even launched a campaign to replace her given that she is not seeking another term in 2024. However, this would create a House vacancy that would be filled in the same election, hypothetically putting both the House and Senate seats up for grabs in 2024.