Jon Lovett, an ex-speechwriter for former President Barack Obama, called on Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) to resign on Tuesday amid her lengthy health-related absence from the Senate.
Feinstein, the oldest serving member of the Senate, revealed on March 2 that she was hospitalized for shingles treatment after being diagnosed with an infection in February.
She was released from the San Francisco hospital on March 7, but the 89-year-old has yet to return to the Senate.
Lovett, who is also the co-founder of progressive media company Crooked Media, argued that Feinstein’s current absence from the upper chamber is keeping the Senate from confirming justices – and that more people should be demanding her immediate resignation.
“There’s been a lot of reporting about Dianne Feinstein no longer being fit to serve in the Senate representing the biggest state in this country. She is currently out for shingles. That is sad. That is obviously not her fault,” Lovett said on his podcast, “Pod Save America,” according to the Hill.
“But because she is not in the Judiciary Committee, [Democratic Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin] has said that it has made it basically impossible to move a lot of these lower court nominees to the Senate for a vote, which means that Dianne Feinstein, who should not be in the Senate, is now preventing us from being able to confirm judges,” Lovett said.
“I think what the people around Dianne Feinstein are doing, allowing, being part of this farce of having a lack of a senator in such an important job is really wrong,” he continued. “And Dianne Feinstein should no longer be in the Senate. She has to resign and more people should be calling on her to resign.”
Feinstein said after her release from the hospital that she is “recovering at home,” where she continues to receive treatment for shingles and that she looks forward to “returning to the Senate as soon as possible.”
For the last several weeks, Democrats in the Senate have been limited to only 49 members, equaling Republicans, due to the absence of Feinstein and Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.), who was hospitalized for treatment for clinical depression.
Durbin told The Hill earlier this month that Democrats in the Senate hope to be “back to full strength” after Easter.
In February, Feinstein posted a tweet announcing that she will not seek a sixth term for office in 2024.
When asked by reporters that day about the announcement, the California Democrat appeared confused that it was made.
“You put out the statement?” asked an incredulous-sounding Feinstein, before telling the press: “I didn’t know they put it out.”
“It is what it is,” the senator added. “I think the time has come. I have a whole other year. I have things that are underway. I expect to achieve them, I hope, and so we’ll see.”
Unnamed Senate colleagues and former staffers had claimed in April of last year that Feinstein’s memory was rapidly deteriorating and that her staff did much of her work.
Reps. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) have both announced that they will run for her vacant seat in 2024.
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