Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) provoked outrage from progressive activists on Wednesday after apologizing to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh for the number of protests and disruptions that have taken place during his confirmation hearing.
During her opening statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Feinstein issued an apology to Kavanaugh for the level of vitriol exhibited by those opposing confirmation. The hearing, which began on Tuesday, has faced continuous disruptions from both lawmakers on the dais and protesters in the auidence.
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"I'm sorry for the circumstances but we'll get through it," the senator said.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) apologizes to Brett Kavanaugh for disruptions of liberal protesters during confirmation hearing: "I'm sorry for the circumstances but we'll get through it."
— Alex Bolton (@alexanderbolton) September 5, 2018
Feinstein, who is facing a strong challenge from the left in her quest for a full fifth term in the U.S. Senate, added that while she was sorry the confirmation hearing was subject to continuous disruptions, it was imperative everyone understand how "strongly" Democrats and progressives feel about Kavanaugh's ascension to the nation's highest court.
"I think it's really important that people as well as the judge, the nominee, understand how strongly we feel and why we feel that way," Feinstein said.
"I think it's really important that people as well as the judge, the nominee, understand how strongly we feel and why we feel that way" says Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein as she starts her opening statement on the Kavanaugh hearing https://t.co/AuL9vA3NZT pic.twitter.com/qEqukk5cwm
— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) September 4, 2018
On the hearing's first day alone, Democratic senators interrupted the committee's proceedings 76 times in an effort to stall confirmation. Progressive activists in attendance were even more rancorous, with over 70 protesters being arrested for disturbing the peace on Tuesday. At times the hearing became so heated that Kavanaugh's two young daughters had to be escorted out of the room.
Although Feinstein allotted a portion of her opening statement to defending the feelings emanating against confirmation, it wasn't enough to placate progressives who viewed her apology as an act of heresy.
Brian Fallon, who served as the national press secretary for Hillary Clinton's failed 2016 presidential campaign, summed up the pervading displeasure amongst progressives when he took to social media to denounce Feinstein's apology as "ridiculous."
— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) September 5, 2018
As previously reported by the Washington Free Beacon, Fallon is currently the executive director of a special interest group fighting President Donald Trump's "takeover" of the federal judiciary.
Others on the left were less brief in relaying their indignation but were equally harsh in their criticism of Feinstein.
Sen. Feinstein up now. She apologizes for the "circumstances" and says "we'll get through it"
Ummm how about we don't?
— Jessica Mason Pieklo (@Hegemommy) September 5, 2018
Dianne Feinstein apologizing for the circumstances? As in protesters? Off to a good start!
— Erick Fernandez (@ErickFernandez) September 5, 2018
— Leah Litman (@LeahLitman) September 5, 2018
Dianne Feinstein has no clue how to play this game and Grassley knows it.
Making your opening statement instead of letting the protests continue. WTF!
— Ian Millhiser (@imillhiser) September 4, 2018
Feinstein's progressive challenger, Kevin de Leon, took to social media shortly after the senator's opening statement to weigh in on the matter. De Leon, who in the past has accused Feinstein of being insufficiently tough in opposing the Trump agenda, asserted California needed a senator willing to stand up and "resist not assist."
"We should be praising the protesters and standing outside with them, not apologizing for their actions," de Leon tweeted. "We need a senator from California who will stand up and #RESIST not #ASSIST."
We should be praising the protesters and standing outside with them, not apologizing for their actions. We need a senator from California who will stand up and #RESIST not #ASSIST. #KavanaughConfirmationHearings https://t.co/xcfHLVfrD3
— Kevin de Leόn (@kdeleon) September 5, 2018
Feinstein is the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.