Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s audience didn’t see that one coming.
The California Democrat apparently shocked the San Francisco crowd who had gathered to hear her speak when she unexpectedly said that President Trump could “be a good president.”
Not exactly the kind of talk the crowd of over 800 people at the sold-out Herbst Theater thought they would hear from the “wildly popular ex-mayor,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
After an hour-long “conversation” with former East Bay Rep. Ellen Tauscher, Feinstein, who was first elected to the Senate in 1992, stunned the crowd when she not only didn’t say Trump should be impeached, she went on to say they should expect him to complete his four-year term in office.
“The question is whether he can learn and change,” Feinstein said at the Commonwealth Club event, dubbed a “political lovefest” by the Chronicle. “If so, I believe he can be a good president.”
With California Congress members and other Democrats regularly waving torches and pitchforks in the charge to take the president down, Feinstein’s words were met with “stunned silence,” according to the Chronicle. And that was “broken only with scattered ‘No’s’ and a few hisses and some nervous laughter.”
“We’ll have to see if he can forget himself enough and have the type of empathy and direction the country needs,” she said, reminding the audience that Trump has only been in office eight months. “There are things that can be done,” if he does not succeed, she added.
She told the crowd that the aggressive, constant attack mode against Trump will be counterproductive to Democrat goals.
“I have to work with people and a punch in the nose is not going to do it,” she said.
But the 84-year-old senator has not shied away from criticizing the president, recently slamming his decision to pardon Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Sheriff Arpaio should not have been pardoned. A pardon for his conduct demonstrates flagrant disregard for the rule of law in this country.
— Sen Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) August 26, 2017
“It was a stupid thing to do,” she told the Herbst Theater audience, back to more predictable language.
She also denounced Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville, Va. earlier this month.
“The president shouldn’t have tried to placate both sides,” she said, as the crowed applauded. “You cannot placate American Nazis. You cannot placate white supremacists.”
Feinstein, who serves on both the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee, which are investigating alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, did not confirm if she would seek re-election next year.
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