Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Embattled Calif. Gov. Newsom Denies Plotting to Replace Embattled Sen. Feinstein

'That’s just something you don’t say...'

(Headline USA) Facing his own political woes amid a recall effort over his mishandling of the pandemic, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday he expects and hopes fellow Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein will serve her full term despite recent attacks from the Left.

The backpedaling came a day after Newsom suggested he’d been thinking about her replacement.

“I have zero expectations the senator will be going anywhere,” he said.

Newsom was asked Monday on MSNBC’s “The ReidOut” if he would commit to replacing Feinstein with a black woman if she leaves the Senate before her term ends in January 2025.

“We have multiple names in mind and the answer is yes,” he said.

Newsom faced criticism over the snub after failing to appoint one to replace Kamala Harris when she became vice president.

He appointed then-California Secretary of State Alex Padilla to fill the role, making him the state’s first Latino U.S. senator but leaving the chamber with no black women.

However, he also appointed state legislator Shirley N. Weber to replace Padilla, leaving her well positioned to rise further up the political ladder.

Nonetheless, Newsom’s comments on Monday raised eyebrows in California political circles, as Feinstein has not given any indication of retiring. In January, she filed the initial paperwork to run again in 2024.

Feinstein reiterated Tuesday that she has no plans to resign but came to Newsom’s defense.

“Please, we’re very good friends. I don’t think he meant it the way some people thought,” she told reporters in the Capitol.

Newsom followed up Tuesday with extended and effusive praise for Feinstein, calling her a friend and mentor and praising her work in Washington. Feinstein and Newsom hail from San Francisco, a political power center where each served as mayor, though decades apart.

“I’m the last person to say anything except laudatory things about Senator Feinstein,” he said during an event in Alameda.

He said there’s been “too much punditry” around Feinstein’s future then joked he should have followed the political rule of never answering a hypothetical question.

At 87, Feinstein is already the Senate’s oldest member. She has faced questions in recent months over her age and memory, as well as criticism from within her own party.

Despite her sterling record as a party loyalist—including her role in engineering the rape hoax against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his 2018 confirmation—a recent hug of fellow Judiciary Committee member Lindsey Graham, R-SC, sent activists into a tizzy.

It followed an earlier quasi-controversy in which she lectured child-activists who had barged into her office disrespectfully to promote the Green New Deal.

She won reelection in 2018 against a fellow Democrat who ran as a more progressive challenger.

The gaffe was more likely to do damage to Newsom than to Feinstein.

The first-term Democrat is likely to face a recall election and needs to maintain his political relationships as he stares down a campaign a year before his regularly scheduled election.

Some of Feinstein’s allies and donors were not happy with his remarks, said Hope Warschaw, a longtime Feinstein ally and donor from Santa Monica.

Warschaw said she was “pretty outraged” by the comment and the ongoing discussion about whether Feinstein will retire early.

Warschaw said she did not speak to Newsom but expects he heard from upset Feinstein supporters.

“That’s just something you don’t say,” she said. “He made a mistake.”

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

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