Dianne Feinstein Has 'Concerning' Exchange With Journo

Senator insists she hasn't 'been gone' from Congress
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 17, 2023 12:30 AM CDT
Updated May 17, 2023 6:41 AM CDT
Dianne Feinstein Has 'Bizarre' Exchange With Reporter
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., is assisted to a wheelchair by staff as she returns to the Senate after a more than two-month absence, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, May 10, 2023.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

In an exchange being called "bizarre" and "concerning," Dianne Feinstein appeared to insist she'd never actually been absent from the Senate, though the senator was away from Washington, DC, for months while recovering from shingles. Slate reporter Jim Newell says that as Feinstein exited an elevator at the Capitol on Tuesday, he asked her how she was feeling and Feinstein, who was in a wheelchair, replied, "Oh, I’m feeling fine. I have a problem with the leg." She wouldn't elaborate on that when another reporter asked about it, and then when the other reporter asked how colleagues had been responding to her since she returned to the Senate, she said, "No, I haven’t been gone."

She continued, "You should follow the—I haven’t been gone. I’ve been working.” Asked whether she was referring to working from home, she insisted, “No, I’ve been here. I’ve been voting. Please. You either know or don’t know.” She then deflected one more question about colleagues who have called on her to resign amid increasing concerns about her fitness for office and was wheeled away by staffers, Newell says. The Guardian calls the exchange "bizarre," and there is speculation, including by Newell, that Feinstein may not recall her absence. Rep. Ro Khanna of California is among the Democrats raising serious concerns about whether Feinstein should still be serving; he said last week he believes she should resign, Politico reports. (More Dianne Feinstein stories.)

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