Feinstein Returns to the Senate, Confusion Reigns Among Dems in DC

AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

Right around this time on Tuesday, Axios reported that Democrat California Senator Dianne Feinstein would be returning from convalescence after suffering from a serious illness and having to miss several months of work. It wasn’t clear whether her flight to D.C. would happen on Tuesday or Wednesday; it turns out it was Tuesday.


But it wasn’t until Wednesday afternoon that there was an actual sighting of Feinstein at the Senate itself. More on that in a minute.

Here was the statement from Feinstein after news broke that she was back in Washington, according to CNN:

Feinstein, 89, issued a statement Wednesday saying she has been advised by her doctors to work a “lighter schedule.”

“Even though I’ve made significant progress and was able to return to Washington, I’m still experiencing some side effects from the shingles virus. My doctors have advised me to work a lighter schedule as I return to the Senate. I’m hopeful those issues will subside as I continue to recover,” she said.

The statement continued with a mention that she “look(s) forward to resuming [her] work on the Judiciary Committee considering the president’s judicial nominees.”

The mention of judicial nominees isn’t just a nicety, as readers likely are aware. At least two members of the progressive wing of the party, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), recently chastised Feinstein for refusing to resign. Things were getting to be pretty dire, even among Democrat-friendly media; less than a week ago, the New York Times was calling for her resignation.

As my colleague Sister Toldjah wrote, in the meantime there was heartbreak for the Senate Dems over their plan to sneak Maryland Dem Sen. Ben Cardin in as a replacement for Feinstein on the Senate Judiciary Committee being foiled by those darn Senate Republicans. As S.T. might quip, bless their hearts.


Back to Wednesday. Here’s a video shared by CNN’s Manu Raju showing Feinstein being helped from a car into a wheelchair at the Capitol:

Here’s a photo of Feinstein with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on Wednesday:

Compare that version of the senator with this one alongside Schumer, from less than five years ago:

Supreme Court Kavanaugh
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

It’s pathetic that Feinstein, much like a much diminished President Joe Biden and an ailing Pennsylvania junior Senator John Fetterman, is being trotted out — in this case, carried out — when she obviously isn’t up to the task.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) seemed to put a level of pressure on her to return over the weekend, when CNN’s Jake Tapper asked him on “State of the Union” about Feinstein’s absence from both the Senate and his committee:

“I don’t want to say that she’s going to be put under more pressure than others have been in the past,” he said. “But the bottom line is: The business of the committee and of the Senate is affected by her absence.”

But this all makes me wonder something: if Dems have bought in so heavily on Feinstein getting back to work, what explains their behavior on Wednesday? Her return seems to have thrown the Democrat leadership into convulsions of chaos (or at least massive confusion), by the looks of the quotes Raju picked up from Schumer and Durbin just hours before Feinstein arrived at the Senate.


It appears many were blindsided, thinking she would be back on Thursday.


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