Hillary Clinton: Dianne Feinstein Shouldn’t Retire

This is from an interview Monday with Charlotte Alter at the Chicago Humanities Festival.

Secretary Hillary Clinton defended her friend and former colleague Senator Dianne Feinstein, whose advanced age and failing health have prompted calls for her to resign from the Senate, saying that Feinstein’s resignation would not be “worth the tradeoff” when it comes to judicial appointments.

“Let me say a word about my friend and longtime colleague Dianne Feinstein. First of all, she has suffered greatly from the bout of shingles and encephalitis that she endured. Here is the dilemma for her: she got reelected, the people of California voted for her again, not very long ago. That was the voters’ decision to vote for her, and she has been a remarkable and very effective leader.”

“Here’s the dilemma: the Republicans will not agree to add someone else to the Judiciary Committee if she retires,” she continued, referencing Feinstein’s powerful committee membership. (When Feinstein was absent from the Senate for nearly three months this year recovering from health issues, it created a logjam on the narrowly divided Judiciary Committee, since Democrats were unable to confirm President Joe Biden’s judicial nominees without Republican support.) “I want you to think about how crummy that is. I don’t know in her heart about whether she really would or wouldn’t, but right now, she can’t. Because if we’re going to get judges confirmed, which is one of the most important continuing obligations that we have, then we cannot afford to have her seat vacant.”

“If Republicans were to say and do the decent thing and say, well this woman was gravely ill, she had just lost her husband to cancer… of course we will let you fill this position if she retires. But they won’t say that,” she continued. “So what are we supposed to do? All these people pushing her to retire: fine, we get no more judges? I don’t think that’s a good tradeoff.”


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