Feinstein Says She Won’t Step Down Early If Husband Tapped For Ambassadorship

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), 87, said Wednesday afternoon that she believes her husband is interested in serving in an ambassadorship position in the Biden administration, but emphasized that she doesn’t plan to resign from the Senate regardless of those plans.

After The New York Times reported Feinstein’s husband, Richard Blum, was interested in serving as an ambassador, CNN reporter Manu Raju asked Feinstein whether she was involved in any appointment discussions concerning her husband. She responded: “No, no, no.” The Democratic lawmaker also said “no” to whether an ambassadorship role for her husband would hasten her retirement as California’s senior-most senator.

Blum is reportedly seeking an ambassadorship position somewhere in Europe, and The New York Times, citing White House aides, reports that Biden would be open to giving him such an appointment. Furthermore, the Times suggests that such an appointment could provide an avenue to address “an increasingly awkward problem for Democrats,” a vague description that makes it unclear whether the problem is Feinstein, the ongoing debate around Feinstein, or Feinstein’s political future itself.

From The New York Times:

Senior party officials have been blunt in private about what they describe as the senator’s diminished acuity and are eager to replace her with a Black woman, of which there are none in the Senate after the departure of Vice President Kamala Harris.

Progressive Democrats have also suggested that Ms. Feinstein’s decorous approach was ill-suited for dealing with the increasingly acrimonious partisan politics in Congress. They were particularly upset during the Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Justice Amy Coney Barrett last fall when Ms. Feinstein praised the way Republicans had handled the hearings. Soon afterward, Mr. Schumer and other Democrats persuaded her not to seek the leadership role on the Judiciary Committee.

California Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA), who recently appointed Alex Padilla to make the transition from secretary of state to U.S. senator, promised Monday that he was looking to appoint a black woman to replace Feinstein if another Senate vacancy were to open up.

According to The San Francisco Chronicle, Feinstein told reporters at the Capitol on Tuesday that she believed people were “making a mountain out of a molehill,” and that her relationship with Newsom remains “good and strong.” Newsom, who is the subject of an ongoing gubernatorial recall effort, has since called his remarks “hypothetical” and said he expects Feinstein to serve for years and years to come.

“She’s a magnificent and extraordinary person, and I think there’s been a little too much punditry around her current term. I think we all would do a lot better if we move away from it,” remarked Newsom.

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