The White House offered words of praise for California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein after the veteran legislator announced this week that she will not seek reelection.
According to the Washington Examiner, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Tuesday that President Joe Biden “sees the senator as a friend and as a colleague.”
Biden “deeply respects” Feinstein’s work
“I think that’s incredibly important,” Jean-Pierre continued, adding, “He sees her as a longtime friend, and he deeply respects all of the collaboration that they have been able to do on historic legislation over the years.”
The press secretary then pointed to how Biden and Feinstein collaborated three decades ago to pass the 1994 assault weapons ban.
The Examiner noted that Biden recently issued a statement commemorating the 2018 mass shooting at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in which he demanded a new ban on semiautomatic firearms.
“I once again call on Congress to enact commonsense gun law reforms, including requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers who knowingly put weapons of war on our streets,” Biden declared.
In fact, a federally funded 2004 study found no evidence that the 1994 assault weapons ban had any appreciable impact on violent crime.
Curiously, Feinstein seemed unaware that her retirement plans had been made public when speaking with reporters on Tuesday.
“I haven’t made that decision. I haven’t released anything,” the Examiner quoted her as telling journalists on Capitol Hill.
After being informed by a staffer that the statement had indeed been put out, she appeared to react with surprise, remarking, “You put out the statement? I should have known they put it out.”
Lost her cognitive edge
The 89-year-old Feinstein has been dogged in recent years by allegations of cognitive decline, claims which were echoed late last year by some of the senator’s Democratic colleagues to the San Francisco 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,” one lawmaker who spoke on the condition of anonymity said before adding, “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,” the politician claimed.
Meanwhile, another Democratic legislator told the newspaper that the senator’s mental dexterity is “bad and it’s getting worse.”