Senator Dianne Feinstein gave the appearance that she was not aware of her own retirement despite an earlier announcement that the 89-year-old was calling it a career, clearing the way for new blood in the seat that she has held since 1992.
On Tuesday, the California Democrat raised eyebrows when she told reporters that she had yet to make a decision on her future hours after it had been announced that she would not be seeking reelection in 2024, then after being notified by a staffer, said that she was not aware that the news had been released.
According to multiple media reports, Feinstein was asked by a reporter to comment on the statement announcing that she was retiring but she seemed befuddled, responding that she had not yet made a decision.
“I haven’t made that decision. I haven’t released anything,” she told reporters, seeming to be oblivious to the statement that was sent out by her own office via email.
Asked by reporters about her announcement to resign, @SenFeinstein says “If I haven't made that decision, I haven't released anything.” A staffer then told the senator that a statement had been released. Feinstein responded saying “I didn’t know they put it out.”
— Christian Hall (@christianjhall) February 14, 2023
After a staffer intervened, Feinstein said, “You put out the statement? I didn’t know they put it out.”
According to an audio clip posted as a part of a story by left-wing outlet Raw Story, Feinstein sounded like she wasn’t aware of her retirement at all, “Oh, no, I’m not announcing anything. I will one day,” she said, about an hour after the news had been announced.
“I am announcing today I will not run for reelection in 2024 but intend to accomplish as much for California as I can through the end of next year when my term ends,” the senator said in a statement that was posted to Twitter on Tuesday afternoon.
I am announcing today I will not run for reelection in 2024 but intend to accomplish as much for California as I can through the end of next year when my term ends. Even with a divided Congress, we can still pass bills that will improve lives.
— Senator Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) February 14, 2023
The product of the San Francisco political machine has clearly declined cognitively in her advanced years, leading to questions about her mental fitness for the job, a common theme with Democrats who have faced similar concerns including President Joe Biden and recently elected Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman who, while not as old as the others, has struggled mightily since he had a stroke last year.
Reactions poured in after Feinstein’s announcement that she was finally hanging it up.
California Governor Gavin Newsom released a statement hailing Feinstein’s championing of California values on the national level.
“Senator Feinstein has been a powerful champion for California and California values on the national stage for three decades — changing lives across our state and nation for the better while opening doors for generations of women leaders,” he said.
.@SenFeinstein has been a powerful champion for California for decades — changing lives across our state and nation for the better, while opening doors for generations of women leaders. California and the nation owe her a deep debt of gratitude. pic.twitter.com/7HR1GlQ9Eq
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) February 14, 2023
Feinstein’s fellow California octogenarian Nancy Pelosi described her as a “titan” who will continue to work on the party’s agenda for the next two years.
“Dianne Feinstein is a titan in the United States Senate, with a record that stands among the finest in history. For the past thirty years, California and our Country has been magnificently served by the leadership of Senator Feinstein: from our national security and personal safety, to the health of our people and our planet, to the strength of our Democracy,” the former House speaker said in a statement.
Sen. Feinstein has not only accomplished a great deal, but is determined to do even more in the last 2 years of her term. Paul and I send congratulations for all that she has achieved — and best wishes for much success for her and her family in the future. https://t.co/C0m13Ofq5v
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) February 14, 2023
“Senator Feinstein has not only accomplished a great deal, but is determined to do even more in the last two years of her term. All Americans continue to be blessed by her committed leadership! Paul and I send congratulations to Dianne for all that she has achieved — and best wishes for much success for her and her family in the future,” Pelosi added.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) praised Feinstein whom he described as an “American institution.”
Sen. Feinstein’s long, distinguished career stands out for the sheer width and breadth of what she accomplished
She broke innumerable glass ceilings
Her work has impacted the lives of millions of Americans—especially Californians
She's a California and an American institution https://t.co/MQpdfBZmYV
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) February 14, 2023
“Dianne Feinstein is one of the finest legislators we’ve ever known,” gushed Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) who is among Democrats who will be jockeying to replace her. “From the torture report, a dogged pursuit of gun safety, and championship of LGBTQ+ rights, her body of work defines her legacy. We are so grateful for her ongoing leadership.”
Dianne Feinstein is one of the finest legislators we’ve ever known.
From the torture report, a dogged pursuit of gun safety, and championship of LGBTQ+ rights, her body of work defines her legacy.
We are so grateful for her ongoing leadership.
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) February 14, 2023
Twitter users reacted to the news of DiFi’s departure.
Dianne Feinstein is 89 years old. She’s about 20 years overdue for retirement. Who are you kidding?
— Lavern Spicer 🇺🇸 (@lavern_spicer) February 14, 2023
Dianne Feinstein has publicly suffered from severe dementia for a decade, her poor memory was reported by mainstream news outlets as she sat in influential committees and she still didn’t retire until she felt like it. Public opinion means nothing to anyone in national office.
— 🅹🅾️🅴🆈աrecκ ☭ (@joeywreck) February 14, 2023
Dianne Feinstein is finally retiring. Here comes mainstream media doing tons of false marketing/propaganda for her career. In over three decades, they can only point to assault weapons ban (she was affected by a shooting), release of CIA torture documents (they spied in on her).
— Cenk Uygur (@cenkuygur) February 14, 2023
Senator Dianne Feinstein is retiring. Given that she's the longest standing Senator in California it gives me little hope they she won't just be replaced with yet another socialist and progressive zombie.
— Matt National (@Matt_National) February 14, 2023
Dianne Feinstein will not run in 2024.
Her legacy is twofold.
1. She had a CCP spy as her office director for almost twenty years.
2. While trying to prevent Americans from arming themselves, she armed herself.
— Philip Schuyler (@FiveRights) February 14, 2023
Senator Dianne Feinstein was a servant of Wall St. & the MIC. And she, like Pelosi, used her office to create unbelievable personal wealth.
It's great news for everyone – except her billionaire clients – that she's finally retiring. Good riddance. And hopefully – Pelosi is next. https://t.co/EeZxTkS0wu
— Empire Of Lies (@berningman16) February 15, 2023
dianne feinstein retiring from congress is the best valentine’s day gift ever 🧡
— James 🌹🏳️🌈 (@jaisuazo) February 14, 2023
“Even with a divided Congress, we can still pass bills that will improve lives. Each of us was sent here to solve problems. That’s what I’ve done for the last 30 years, and that’s what I plan to do for the next two years. My thanks to the people of California for allowing me to serve them,” Feinstein said in a statement on her website.
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