AOC urges Feinstein to retire, calling "anti-feminist" criticisms a "farce"
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday became the latest lawmaker to publicly urge California Sen. Dianne Feinstein to resign as the 89-year-old Democrat's absence from Congress continues.
Driving the news: Feinstein "should retire," Ocasio-Cortez wrote on the new social media app Bluesky. "I think criticisms of that stance as ‘anti-feminist’ are a farce," she said.
The big picture: Democratic Reps. Ro Khanna (Calif.), Dean Phillips (Minn.), and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) have all said that Feinstein, who has been absent for two months while recovering from shingles, should resign.
- But one House Democrat previously told Axios that privately the sentiment is much more widespread within the party, even as most have publicly demurred or stayed silent on the matter.
- Concerns about Feinstein's health and ability to serve predate her current absence, and she has already announced she won't seek re-election next year.
Why it matters: Feinstein's prolonged absence has made it harder for Senate Democrats to push judicial nominees through the committee.
- "Her refusal to either retire or show up is causing great harm to the judiciary - precisely where repro rights are getting stripped," Ocasio-Cortez wrote Tuesday, per CNN.
- "That failure means now in this precious window Dems can only pass GOP- approved nominees."
- Some women Senate Republicans have couched their argument against Feinstein's request to be temporarily replaced on the Judiciary Committee in the assertion that gender hypocrisy is at play.
- "[I]f it were a dude would they be saying you need to step down, or you need to recuse yourself from a committee?" Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) told Axios last month.
What we’re watching: There’s no clear timeline for Feinstein’s return to the Senate, and she is unlikely to return before May 9.
- "Don’t expect her this week," her spokesperson told Axios.
Editor's note: This story has been updated with comment from a spokesperson for Feinstein.