Dianne Feinstein claimed she hasn't 'been gone' when asked about her lengthy absence from the Senate: 'No, I've been here. I've been voting'

Feinstein at the Capitol on May 11.
Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images
  • Sen. Feinstein insisted to reporters on Tuesday that she hasn't been absent from the Senate.

  • "No, I've been here. I've been voting," she told LA Times' Ben Oreskes at the Capitol on Tuesday.

  • The 89-year-old senator returned to Washington last week after a nearly 3-month-long absence.

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California insisted that she had not been absent from the Senate when asked about it by reporters on Tuesday, according to Slate and the Los Angeles Times.

"No, I haven't been gone," she told the Times' Ben Oreskes on Tuesday when asked how her Senate colleagues have responded to her return. "You should follow the — I haven't been gone, I've been working."

Oreskes then asked her whether she had been working from home.

"No, I've been here. I've been voting," she said. "Please, you either know or don't know."

Feinstein then reportedly deflected a question about lawmakers calling for her to resign before an aide wheeled her away.

Feinstein's office did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

The 89-year-old senator returned to Washington last week after nearly three months, allowing Democrats to advance a series of President Joe Biden's nominees through the Senate Judiciary Committee after Feinstein's absence had caused a stall.

During that time, some House Democrats — including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ro Khanna of California — had called for her to resign.

Feinstein has long faced questions surrounding her ability to serve, owing to both her health and a series of public lapses in her cognitive abilities.

Insider asked the senator in December why she had decided not to seek the position of Senate president pro-tempore , a role that typically goes to the longest-serving senator from the majority party.

Feinstein appeared unaware that she had already issued a statement through her office on the matter, prompting an aide to intervene.

"Okay, well then, I guess it's out," said Feinstein at the time.

Feinstein announced in February that she will not seek re-election in 2024, and several prominent Democrats — including Reps. Adam Schiff, Katie Porter, and Barbara Lee — are running to replace her.

Feinstein has more than a year and a half left until her term expires in January 2025.

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