Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California has been forced to abandon her leadership position after irate progressives lambasted her over behavior during the congressional hearings for Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett.
On Monday, Feinstein announced she would be stepping down as the senior Democrat on a key committee and would not pursue any other similar positions.
“After serving as the lead Democrat on the Judiciary Committee for four years, I will not seek the chairmanship or ranking member position in the next Congress,” Feinstein stated.
The 87-year-old veteran senator was attacked by progressive leftist groups after she dared to give a brief hug, without a mask, to Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina after the hearings in October concluded for the Supreme Court confirmation of Barrett.
Feinstein was heard telling Sen. Graham, “I just want to thank you. This has been one of the best set of hearings that I’ve participated in. Thank you so much for your leadership.”
“I disagree strongly with Sen. Feinstein that that set of hearings was one of the best or was even acceptable,” Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) said in an interview on the topic with HuffPost. “We got many fewer direct answers than we have out of most Supreme Court hearings…I thought it was a very poor set of hearings.”
“It’s very hard to watch a colleague in decline. That this is occurring publicly is even harder,” an anonymous Democratic senator told HuffPost at the time.
“Someone like Feinstein who is so out of step with the rest of the party should not be the lead Democrat on the Judiciary Committee,” Ben Rhodes, the former national security adviser for President Barack Obama, posted on Twitter.
Demand Justice, a progressive group headed by former Hillary Clinton 2016 campaign press secretary Brian Fallon, released a statement which also pointed out a harmful situation where Feinstein made fun of and ridiculed children for asking that she lend her support to the far-left Green New Deal.
“If Senate Democrats are going to get their act together on the courts going forward, they cannot be led by someone who treats Sunrise activists with contempt and the Republican theft of a Supreme Court seat with kid gloves,” Fallon’s statement read.
It took two months after the hearing for Feinstein to give in to their pressures. She insisted in her statement that she would rather focus on the issues that most impact her constituents.
“California is a huge state confronting two existential threats — wildfire and drought — that are only getting worse with climate change,” Feinstein noted. “In the next Congress, I plan to increase my attention on those two crucial issues. I also believe that defeating COVID-19, combating climate change, and protecting access to healthcare are critical national priorities that require even more concentration.”
“I look forward to continuing to serve as a senior Democrat on the Judiciary, Intelligence, Appropriations and Rules committees as we work with the Biden Administration on priorities like gun safety, immigration reform, and addressing inequities in criminal justice. I will continue to do my utmost to bring about positive change in the coming years,” Feinstein added.
Feinstein has held her seat in the Senate since 1992. She won reelection in 2018, and her current six-year term will end in January 2025.