The decade's most triggering comedy
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) appeared to have no recollection of her recent — and lengthy — absence from Washington, D.C., during a recent interview, scolding a reporter who mentioned her time away and claiming that she had been “here, voting.”
Feinstein, 89, was absent from the Senate for nearly three months while she recovered from a bout with the shingles virus — and since her return, she has been using a wheelchair and has kept a more limited schedule than she did prior to her absence.
She had just voted against a measure that would have nullified some D.C. criminal justice reforms and was nearing the elevator in her wheelchair when a reporter approached her, according to a report published Tuesday by the Los Angeles Times.
“Aren’t you an eager one?” Feinstein greeted the reporter.
The retiring senator — who announced earlier this year that she would not seek reelection in 2024 — mentioned a problem with one of her legs, but said that she had been feeling better. But when the reporter asked about her recent return to the Senate and whether her colleagues had offered much in the way of well-wishes, the interview took a turn.
“What have I heard about what?” Feinstein asked.
“About your return,” the reporter prompted.
“I haven’t been gone. You should … I haven’t been gone. I’ve been working,” Feinstein insisted.
The reporter assumed that the California Senator meant she had been working from home, and said as much — but Feinstein insisted that she had not been gone at all.
“You’ve been working from home is what you’re saying?” the reporter attempted to clarify.
“No, I’ve been here. I’ve been voting. Please, either know or don’t know,” Feinstein said, and brought the interview to an abrupt close.
Feinstein, at 89, is the oldest member of the Senate — and even before her recent battle with shingles, concerns had been raised about her fitness to continue to serve in the deliberating body. Since she announced her diagnosis, those calls grew louder — especially amid concerns that the Senate Judiciary Committee could have trouble advancing President Joe Biden’s judicial nominees while they were missing a tie-breaking vote.