Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., rebuffed demands from her colleagues that the Senate should force Sens. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, out of the chamber because of their objections to the Electoral College’s certification on Jan. 6.
Several Democrats—ranging from radical leftist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio–Cortez, D-N.Y., to moderate Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.—have argued the Senate should expel Hawley and Cruz for “inciting violence” at the U.S. Capitol building when Congress met to certify President Joe Biden’s win.
But Feinstein, one of the top-ranking Democrats in the Senate, argued Hawley and Cruz took their objections to the right place.
“I think the Senate is a place of freedom—and people come here to speak their piece, and they do” she said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Feinstein noted that the value of ideas proffered by fellow elected officials was all a matter of perspective, but that it was not the place of political adversaries to attempt to silence it.
“They provide a kind of leadership,” she said. “In some cases, it’s positive, in some cases, maybe not—a lot of that depends on who’s looking and what party they are.”
Nonetheless, she said that the process itself was the most sacred of democratic institutions.
“It’s an important place to have this kind of dialogue,” she said. “It’s probably the highest-level dialogue that you get in an electoral body.”
Democrats have seethed over what appears to be a growing streak of bipartisanship in the liberal stalwart.
Radical leftist activists called for her resignation in the fall after she hugged Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, following the Judicial Committee’s confirmation hearing for Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett.
However, there was more than a little self-preservation involved in Feinstein’s support for Cruz and Hawley, who led a coalition of a dozen senators alongside more than 130 GOP members of the House.
In 2006, Feinstein’s fellow California Democrat, Sen. Barbara Boxer, was the sole senator to wage a similar Electoral College challenge to the vote in Ohio following the landslide re-election of then-President George W. Bush.
Democrats likewise lodged repeated challenges against President Donald Trump’s 2016 election. But there was no talk at the time that those efforts ran counter to the Democratic process.
Both Cruz and Hawley have refused to apologize for objecting to the Electoral College’s certification, even after facing backlash from GOP donors, some of whom faced pressure from the anti-Trump, pro-Establishment Lincoln Project.
1/2 @AOC You are a liar.
Leading a debate in the Senate on ensuring election integrity is doing our jobs, and it’s in no way responsible for the despicable terrorists who attacked the Capitol yesterday.
And sorry, I ain’t going anywhere. When you and your socialist buddies… https://t.co/UoKBOC8ZU7
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) January 7, 2021
Hawley similarly defended his decision: “I will never apologize for giving voice to the millions of Missourians and Americans who have concerns about the integrity of our elections. That’s my job, and I will keep doing it.”
Headline USA’s Ben Sellers contributed to this report.