California’s senior Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein has faced mounting pressure to resign due to ongoing health problems and her advanced age. However, she seems determined to stay in office. Feinstein attempted to downplay her two-month absence, but her response has done little to quell criticism from her own party.
Feinstein, who was first elected in 1992, was hospitalized in March with a case of shingles, leaving Democrats without her crucial vote. Her absence has delayed the confirmation of President Joe Biden’s judicial appointments. Although questions have been raised about Feinstein’s cognitive health and memory, she has staunchly defended her ability to represent California’s nearly 40 million residents.
In early March, Feinstein claimed she would make a full recovery and return to the Senate later in the month. However, her return was delayed due to complications related to her diagnosis. Feinstein said she would continue to work from home in San Francisco and return to the Senate once her medical team deemed it safe to travel. Despite her assurance, many Democrats, including Reps. Dean Phillips and Ro Khanna, have called for her resignation, labeling her refusal to do so a “dereliction of duty.”
Feinstein’s recent statement insisting her extended absence has not slowed down the Senate’s confirmation of judicial nominees has been met with skepticism. Critics argue that her absence is indeed consequential and urge her to retire. Feinstein’s dismissive attitude has failed to reassure her fellow Democrats, who remain concerned about her ongoing health problems and absence from the Senate.