On Tuesday night, Sen. Dianne Feinstein shocked roughly 850 people who came to see her in San Francisco when she opined that she believed Donald Trump could be “a good president.”
That wasn’t what her crowd expected; Feinstein received a standing ovation when she entered the stage at the Herbst Theater for her dialogue with former East Bay Rep. Ellen Tauscher. The two women conversed for an hour, but when the subject of a possible impeachment of Trump surfaced, Feinstein unnerved the crowd by refusing to endorse the idea, and followed with a warning that Trump would likely remain in office.
Then she uttered the real shocker, asserting, “The question is whether he can learn and change. If so, I believe he can be a good president.”
Then, according to The San Francisco Chronicle, “scattered ‘No’s’ and a few hisses and some nervous laughter.” The Mercury News had another perspective: “Oh, come on!” a few people shouted. “No, no!” screamed others.
That didn’t faze the 84-year-old former mayor of San Francisco; she continued with a message more palatable to her audience: ““I think we have to have some patience, I do. It’s eight months into the tenure of the presidency … We’ll have to see if he can forget himself and his feelings about himself enough to be able to have the empathy and direction that this country needs,” adding that if he doesn’t, “there are things that can be done.”
Feinstein argued against a relentlessly confrontational attitude toward Trump, saying, “I have to work with people and a punch in the nose is not going to do it.”
Feinstein even pointed out that Trump’s plan to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement was not far from hers, as she had voted against NAFTA in 1993. She said bluntly, “I believe it should be renegotiated.”
But Feinstein made sure to rip Trump for his comments regarding Charlottesville, Va., saying, “The president shouldn’t have tried to placate both sides. You cannot placate American Nazis. You cannot placate white supremacists.”
That elicited much applause, as did her criticism of Trump’s pardon of former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio last week. She said succinctly, “It was a stupid thing to do,” adding that the pardon “sent a message to police departments … that racial profiling is OK.”