5th House Democrat Publicly States Feinstein Should Resign

Wim De Gent
By Wim De Gent
May 27, 2023Politics
5th House Democrat Publicly States Feinstein Should Resign
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) escorts Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) as she arrives at the U.S. Capitol following a long absence due to health issues in Washington on May 10, 2023. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

A fifth House Democrat has now called for Sen. Dianne Feinstein to resign, after the visibly weakened California Democrat returned to Washington on May 10 following a prolonged absence due to illness.

Feinstein returned on May 10 to the Senate in a wheelchair after a severe shingles infection caused complications that left her face partially paralyzed. When asked what her colleagues told her after she returned to the Capitol after two months, the 89-year-old Feinstein said, “No, I haven’t been gone,” adding “I’ve been here. I’ve been voting.”

“I think if you’re a member, and you become a shadow of your former self, you should resign,” Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.) told Insider this week, calling for Feinstein to step aside. “Once you’re no longer the best person to represent your state, you have a duty to move on.”

Five House Representatives so far publicly acknowledged believing Feinstein to be unfit.

Earlier this week, Rep. Dean Philips (D-Minn.) told MPR News that those who work with Feinstein “all know that she is in no position to fulfill the duties of this job.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) confirmed that this was a commonly held opinion behind closed doors, adding that “it’s not sexist in any way, shape, or form to ask and expect your member of Congress to be able to do their job.”

According to a Berkeley IGS poll released Thursday, 67 percent of Californians believe Feinstein is no longer fit to serve. However, none of Feinstein’s fellow senators have publicly called for her resignation.

Democrats are acutely aware of the importance of Feinstein’s seat. When Feinstein fell ill, the Democrats lost their majority in the narrowly divided Judiciary Committee. As a direct result, the Democrats were unable to confirm President Joe Biden’s judicial nominees, as no Republican was willing to approve them.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was quite frank about the matter.

In a Tuesday Time magazine interview, Clinton said that the Republicans will never agree to add a successor to the Judiciary Committee should Feinstein decide to retire.

“I don’t know in her heart about whether she really would or wouldn’t, but right now, she can’t. Because if we’re going to get judges confirmed, which is one of the most important continuing obligations that we have, then we cannot afford to have her seat vacant,” Clinton said.

She added that Republicans should “do the decent thing” and replace Feinstein, because she has been gravely ill and just lost her husband to cancer.

“All these people pushing her to retire: fine. We get no more judges? I don’t think that’s a good tradeoff,” Clinton stated.

Other prominent Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have also expressed their support for Feinstein to complete her term, as she announced she would in February.

“She’s working. She’s voting. She’s here,” Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) told Insider. “That’s what’s most important.”