Sen. Dianne Feinstein Appears to Forget Ruling Out Senate President Pro Tempore Job

Dianne Feinstein
Stefani Reynolds/The New York Times via AP, Pool, File

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) on Tuesday reportedly forgot she rejected the idea of serving as Senate president pro tempore in an apparent memory lapse.

As the longest serving Senate Democrat, the 89-year-old Feinstein would serve as senate president pro tempore under the next Congress’s Democrat-controlled Senate, making her third in line to the presidency behind the vice president and speaker of the House.

On Tuesday, Feinstein told reporters she had not considered filling the position yet.

“Well, I haven’t thought about it, but I’ll let you know when I do,” Feinstein said. “I just got back. I’ve had a lot of issues.”

However, Feinstein’s claims that she had not yet thought about serving as Senate president pro tempore are in direct conflict with what she told the Washington Post last month, where she ultimately ruled out filling the position.

“I’ve never thought about being the president pro tempore and I have no interest in it at this time,” Feinstein told WaPo in October.

Reporters questioned Feinstein about her position on serving as president pro tempore in light of her statement to WaPo last month.

As Business Insider reported:

“That’s what you’ve told reporters,” the aide said to Feinstein.

“I don’t know what you’re saying,” she replied.

“This is about the Senate pro tem position,” he said.

“Well, I haven’t said anything about it, that I know of,” she insisted.

“You were asked about it over the break, and you put out a statement saying that you had no intention of running for it,” he said, apparently referencing the statement given to the Post.

“Okay, well then, I guess it’s out,” she conceded.

Feinstein reportedly pointed to the recent death of her husband as the reason why she ruled out the position.

Washington Sen. Patty Murray (D) would be next in line in seniority for the pro tempore position as she took office two months after Feinstein in January 1993.

Feinstein’s apparent memory lapse points to growing concerns about her mental capacity to serve as senator for nearly 40 million Californians.

Multiple Democrat lawmakers have reportedly spoken to outlets on the condition of anonymity about Feinstein’s allegedly declining mental health.

As Breitbart News reported:

One Democrat lawmaker who spoke with the Times on having close encounters with Feinstein in February said that it was “akin to acting as a caregiver for a person in need of constant assistance” and the person “recalled having to reintroduce themself to the senator multiple times, helping her locate her purse repeatedly, and answering the same set of basic, small-talk questions over and over again.”

The San Francisco Chronicle also reported on similar comments made by Democrat lawmakers.

One anonymous lawmaker reportedly told the Chronicle:

I have worked with her for a long time and long enough to know what she was like just a few years ago: always in command, always in charge, on top of the details, basically couldn’t resist a conversation where she was driving some bill or some idea. All of that is gone. She was an intellectual and political force not that long ago, and that’s why my encounter with her was so jarring. Because there was just no trace of that.

Feinstein’s term runs through the end of 2024 when she will be 91 years old.

Jordan Dixon-Hamilton is a reporter for Breitbart News. Write to him at or follow him on Twitter. 


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