Tapper asks whether Feinstein is even ‘aware of her own health issues’

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s return to Congress raised eyebrows and concerns amid rumors fellow Democrats may be using her and others as “mere pawns” while her own comments left CNN’s Jake Tapper probing her mental state: “Is she aware…”

The seedier side of Golden State politics appeared to be playing out on the public stage through the ailing state of the long-serving 89-year-old Feinstein. Her return from a months-long absence had done little to allay concerns about her fitness to serve when she reportedly insisted, “No, I haven’t been gone,” and “No, I’ve been here. I’ve been voting.”

During her medical leave to recover from the shingles virus, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) had been among the leading voices calling for the senator to resign and Friday he joined Tapper on CNN’s “The Lead” to comment on her troubling return.

“You and other Democrats have called for her resignation because of her many, many absences, which have affected the work of the Senate — not to mention, I suppose, previous questions about her cognition,” Tapper said before asking pointedly, “What’s your understanding as to what’s currently going on? Is she just refusing to resign? Is she aware of her own health issues?”

“Well, it’s a really sad situation, Jake,” Khanna began before admitting, “It’s painful to watch, and I just wish people who are close to her, who have been friends of hers, and her family will talk to her about doing the right thing and stepping down with dignity.”

“I don’t know the situation. I don’t know who’s making the decisions in that office,” he continued. “I think they at the very least owe transparency, whether it’s her or someone on her staff to have a press conference to answer exactly what the truth is of her condition and her ability to do the job.”

Previously, it had been suggested that Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was the hand orchestrating Feinstein’s continued service in the Senate as her own eldest daughter, Nancy Corinne Prowda, had become a central figure in caring for the senator. The suspicions were only strengthened by the widely reported suggestion that Pelosi favors Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) as Feinstein’s successor.

Writing for the Daily Mail, Meghan McCain touched on the brewing fight to supplant the retiring senator and how an early resignation could change the landscape of the 2024 election. Were Feinstein to step down before the end of her term, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) would be tasked with appointing a placeholder until the vote occurred.

Many believe that Newsom favors Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), an appointment that would make the matter of Schiff trying to get elected all the more difficult compared to running to fill a vacant seat.

“Yes, there are always political machinations behind the scenes. And yes, there are other powerful lawmakers, who remained in office long past the time for them to retire. But are the American people really supposed to accept this as business as usual?” McCain argued.

“It gives me no pleasure to observe this, but Senator Feinstein is not in the position to make her own decisions. And someone may be making them for her,” she said pointing toward the Pelosis.

Her concerns weren’t limited to the situation in California though, as she addressed two other figures seen by many to be unwitting pawns for the progressive machine: President Joe Biden and freshman Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.).

Fetterman had his own absence from Congress after checking himself into the hospital for clinical depression. The stroke-addled senator’s health had been a concern throughout his 2022 campaign and was brought to the forefront once more at a Senate Banking Committee hearing Tuesday where he struggled during his turn for questioning that left viewers asserting he s “incapable of speech or coherent thought.”

Biden’s struggles have been well-document and McCain pointed out, “Only 32% of U.S. adults believe that he has the mental sharpness to do the job. A measly 33% say that Biden is in ‘good enough physical health to serve effectively.'”

Her overall conclusion: “If Dianne Feinstein is being advised against resigning — that is an absolute disgrace. Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, [Senate Leader] Chuck Schumer and the entire Democratic leadership should be asked at every opportunity: What’s more important — your political interests or the life of a dedicated public servant? What do you value more — a Senate seat or the faith of the American people in their representatives?”


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Kevin Haggerty


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