OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Democrats continue to struggle with the absence of California Sen. Dianne Feinstein and they are struggling even more with defending her decision not to resign.
On the Sunday shows this week several senators appeared to have very similar answers, as if they were rehearsed, when asked if Sen. Feinstein resigned,” Mediaite reported.
“At what point does her absence make you rethink whether you should publicly also add your voice to the calls of asking her to resign her Senate seat?” “Meet the Press host Chuck Todd host Sen. Dick Durbin.
“Dianne Feinstein is my friend,” the senator said. “She’s my colleague. We sit next to one another on the Judiciary Committee. She’s done extraordinary things in her public career. Let’s face it, she’s gone through several weeks of real travail over this shingles issue that she was obviously dealing with. She wants to come back. She said to Chuck Schumer on the phone last week, ‘I want to get on that plane next Monday and be there.’ I want her to come back too. But her future is in her own hands and her family’s consultation. I wish her the best and I hope she can return very soon.”
Sen. Mark Warner gave a similar answer when he was asked about Sen. Feinstein on the ABC Sunday show “This Week.”
“Should she resign?” host Martha Raddatz said to the senator.
“I’m hopeful that Dianne will return as soon as possible,” he said. “I served with her on the Intelligence Committee. She’s been a great senator. But my hope is she’ll get back to work as soon as possible.”
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said on the CNN show “State of the Union” that Republicans would not allow Democrats to fill her seat on the Judiciary Committee unless she resigns from the Senate.
“Back to the U.S. and specifically the Judiciary Committee. You’re the ranking member on that committee. Senator Dianne Feinstein, she’s been absent for health reasons. You and other Republicans blocked the Democrats attempt to temporarily fill her committee seat. If she resigns, isn’t just absent, but actually resigns from the Senate, will you allow this committee seat to be filled?” host Dana Bash said.
“Yes, if she resigned, I would make sure that whatever we did in the past when members resigned would be followed,” the senator said.
“As to Senator Feinstein, she is a wonderful person. She’s been a very effective senator. I hope she comes back. We had Mark Kirk out for four months. No Republican asked that his seat be temporarily filled. This is about four or five judges they can’t get out of the committee,” he said.
“I voted for seven or nine judges yesterday — a couple of days ago. I’m very capable of supporting Democratic nominees, but they’re four or five that are just out of the mainstream, and they want to replace Dianne Feinstein’s seat for the judges. But I hope she comes back.
“But if she does resign, I would be in the camp of following the president of the Senate replacing the person, consistent with what we have done in the past. But I hope she comes back. I hope Dianne gets better. She’s a wonderful person. BASH: So, if the precedent shows that you have or that the committee has actually replaced a member who has resigned from the Senate, you would follow that again?” he said.
Bash then spoke to Democrat Sen. Amy Klobuchar about the senator resigning.
“Senator, you are a key member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. As you know, your colleague Senator Dianne Feinstein has been absent for a while with some health issues, and Republicans are blocking efforts by you and others to replace her temporarily on the committee. You just heard Senator Graham tell me that, if Senator Feinstein actually resigns her seat, he will follow precedent and allow a replacement on — for her on the committee. So, do you believe, given that, Senator Feinstein should resign?” the host said.
“I believe that — first of all, Senator Graham said some good things there. I completely disagreed with what he said about allowing a temporary replacement. They should have done that. However, I was glad to hear that he wants to see Dianne come back. I want to see her come back too. And Senator Schumer just talked to her last week, and she has said she’s coming back shortly, and that will solve this problem,” the senator said.
“Secondly, if any member resigns, whether it was Senator Feinstein or anyone in the future, I was really glad to hear Senator Graham say that he would follow the regular rules and there would be a replacement,” she said.