(Headline USA) Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., suggested this week that sexism is behind the calls for Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., to resign — including calls from members of her own party.
A number of prominent Democrats, such as Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., have publicly pressured Feinstein to resign immediately, arguing that her prolonged absence from the Senate due to health issues is unnecessarily delaying the chamber’s business.
“While she has had a lifetime of public service, it is obvious she can no longer fulfill her duties,” Khanna tweeted. “Not speaking out undermines our credibility as elected representatives of the people.”
When asked about Khanna’s statement, Pelosi demanded to know why the same criticism isn’t applied to male senators when they fall ill.
“She deserves the respect to get well and be back on duty, and it’s interesting to me. I don’t know what political agendas are at work that are going after Sen. Feinstein in that way. I’ve never seen them go after a man who was sick in the Senate in that way,” she said.
Pelosi went on to describe Feinstein as a “champion for California.”
“Senator Feinstein has been a champion for California. For 20 years, I have been the leader or the speaker of the House fighting for California, and I have seen up close and firsthand her great leadership for our country and especially for our state of California,” Pelosi added.
Feinstein, 89, was hospitalized last month for shingles and has been missing for much of the Senate’s current term. She has missed 60 of 82 votes taken in the Senate this year, which has prevented Senate Democrats from confirming some of President Joe Biden’s judicial appointments.
However, Feinstein on Wednesday rebuffed demands that she step down, saying she is committed to serving out the rest of her term. She has already announced that she does not plan to seek reelection next year.
“When I was first diagnosed with shingles, I expected to return by the end of the March work period. Unfortunately, my return to Washington has been delayed due to continued complications related to my diagnosis,” Feinstein said in a statement. “I intend to return as soon as possible once my medical team advises that it’s safe for me to travel. In the meantime, I remain committed to the job and will continue to work from home in San Francisco.”