Feinstein Denies Senate Absence: ‘I Haven’t Been Gone. I’ve Been Working’

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BY: SIMON KENT 17 May 2023

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) told reporters Tuesday she hasn’t been absent from Washington while spending two months recovering from illness, despite her being hospitalized in California and not being in D.C. during that time.

“No, I haven’t been gone,” Feinstein offered when a reporter asked her about the well-wishes her Senate colleagues have given her since she returned last week.

According to the Los Angeles Times, she added “You should — I haven’t been gone. I’ve been working.”

On being further questioned if she was referring to working remotely from home, Feinstein reportedly reiterated she’s been in Washington.

“No, I’ve been here. I’ve been voting,” Feinstein said. “Please. You either know or don’t know.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., is seen after her first Senate Judiciary Committee markup in Hart Building after being away with an illness on Thursday, May 11, 2023. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty)

The 89-year-old was hospitalized and stayed away from the Capitol for weeks at the beginning of March because of complications from shingles, as Breitbart News reported.

Feinstein confirmed her hospitalization after her spokesperson announced she was leaving D.C. for California to focus on a “health matter.

“I was diagnosed over the February recess with a case of shingles. I have been hospitalized and am receiving treatment in San Francisco and expect to make a full recovery. I hope to return to the Senate later this month,” the senator said.

The oldest Senate member returned seven days ago but still missed votes last Wednesday.

Feinstein, planning to retire at the end of her current term, has missed more than 90 votes in her absence and has given the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee the ability to stall some of President Joe Biden’s court nominees.

During her absence, she has received calls to resign from many on the left wanting to end the gridlock, including Democrat Reps. Ro Khanna (D-CA), Dean Phillips (D-MN) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).

Additionally, over 60 left-leaning groups from her home state called for her to vacate her U.S. Senate seat after missing dozens of votes.

The New York Times editorial board has specifically demanded she “should resign and turn over her responsibilities to an appointed successor.”

The outlet pointed to a report from last year in the San Francisco Chronicle, her hometown newspaper, that revealed Feinstein’s “memory has so deteriorated that she can no longer fulfill her job duties.”

It further alleged her colleagues have acknowledged she “cannot keep up with conversations … [and] doesn’t seem to fully recognize other senators and relies almost entirely on staff members.”

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