Feinstein Was Reportedly Confused That Harris Presided Over Senate

The New York Times documented the extent of Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) cognitive limitations and expressed anger over her return to the Senate.

According to The New York Times, Feinstein appeared confused when she saw Vice President Kamala Harris presiding over the Senate. The incident occurred in 2022 while Harris voted in the Senate to break a tie vote between Republicans and Democrats.

“What is she doing here?” the 89-year-old reportedly told an aide about Harris.

Critics have denounced Feinstein and said her likely retirement slowed President Joe Biden’s efforts to fill judicial vacancies with left-leaning judges at a time when 9% of district and appellate court seats remain vacant.

In February 2023, Feinstein announced she would not seek re-election but would fully serve her current term.

In March 2023, Feinstein was hospitalized because of shingles. She returned to Congress in May 2023.

In an exchange with reporters, Feinstein appeared to say that she never left Congress.

“I haven’t been gone,” Feinstein said. “You should … I haven’t been gone. I’ve been working.”

“You’ve been working from home is what you’re saying?” a reporter asked.

“No, I’ve been here,” an agitated Feinstein responded. “I’ve been voting. Please, you either know or don’t know.”

A recent poll found that 67% of Californians agreed that Feinstein’s illness makes her unfit to serve in the Senate, while only 20% disagreed. When asked if the senator should resign, 42% of Californians said she would, while only 27% said she should serve one more term.

The poll did not provide a partisan breakdown of the results, but an “agreement extends to voters of all political stripes.” Respondents were asked if Feinstein should “resign from office and allow Gov. Newsom to appoint a successor?”

Over 50% of Democrats supported that scenario, but only 22% of Republicans did.

Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Katie Porter (D-CA), and Barbara Lee (D-CA) have declared their candidacy for Feinstein’s seat.

If Feinstein retires early, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) becomes tasked with appointing a temporary replacement. Yet, because of Feinstein’s seniority after serving over 30 years in the Senate, a replacement would not hold the same authority or power she currently has.