Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) finally returned to Washington, D.C., on a private jet last week after being absent for three months due to a case of shingles. The 89-year-old senator, whom anonymous staffers have described as suffering from severe cognitive decline, has been facing growing calls to resign, as the Senate Judiciary Committee needed her vote to advance all of President Joe Biden’s federal judge picks at a time when human rights are on the line.
But if you ask Feinstein, she was never missing at all. “No, I haven’t been gone,” she told Slate’s Jim Newell on Tuesday. “I’ve been working.
When Newell asked if she meant that she’d been working from home, Feinstein reportedly replied, “No, I’ve been here. I’ve been voting.”
To be clear, Feinstein was not in D.C. and voting; she was in California, recovering and missing votes. And while some of her Senate colleagues were defending her ability to stay in the governing body as long as she wanted, due to “feminism” or whatever, many others—from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) to the New York Times editorial board—were heavily suggesting that she call it quits for the sake of the nation.
Feinstein’s staffers, reportedly, have been working overtime to keep up the ruse that the senator is still fit to do the job ahead of her scheduled retirement at the end of this term.
As we’ve written over and over, it’s not sexist to call on a struggling nearly-nonagenarian senator to resign. We are all grateful for the work she’s done to advance women’s representation in Congress, and the very best thing she could do at this point (for her own legacy, as well as for everyone else) is to step aside and let a more capable person carry on what she started.