Gavin Newsom Says He Has “No Expectation” That Dianne Feinstein Will Step Down After Commenting On Her Potential Successor

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)

California Governor Gavin Newsom made headlines last night when he told MSNBC’s Joy Reid that he would appoint an African American woman to succeed Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) should she resign her seat.

“We have multiple names in mind, and the answer is yes,” he told Reid.

But asked about his statement again on Tuesday on ABC’s The View, Newsom clarified that he has “no expectation” that Feinstein will do so.

“Are you implying that she should step down before her term is over, because some folks thought that meant that you were sort of pushing her out,” co-host Sunny Hostin asked him.

“Quite the contrary,” Newsom said. “She’s one of my oldest, closest friends and allies, and I say that literally and not figuratively.

Newsom called Feinstein an “incredible mentor to me,” and said that he had merely been asked the question of what would happen if she did retire.

“I just answered it honestly and forthrightly,” Newsom said. “That said, I have no expectation that she’ll be stepping aside. Quite the contrary. I talk to her quite often. She is as lucid and focused as committed to the cause of fighting not only for our state as …senior senator in California, but this nation, in her senior status, as someone who has been in the Senate, with great respect across the aisle as long or longer than most.”

Hostin also had mentioned to Newsom that many African American women “felt slighted” by his decision to appoint Alex Padilla to the seat vacated by Kamala Harris after she was elected vice president. Newsom defended the choice, noting that Padilla was the first Latino to serve as a U.S. senator from California, but said that “given the privilege, the opportunity to make another, you have my firm commitment that will be truly representative and will make up for that.”

Newsom’s appearance on The View came on the day after he launched a new effort to challenge his potential recall. Organizers say that they have more than 2 million signatures, with about 1.5 million needed to trigger a new election.

Joy Behar asked Newsom about organizers’ claims that more than a third of signatures are from “Democrats, independents and unaffiliated voters mad that your pandemic policies shutting businesses and schools.”

Newsom, however, pinned the recall on supporters of Donald Trump. “It just takes one quarter of the people that supported Donald Trump to put a petition on the ballot, or rather a recall on the ballot. We are just one of 19 states that allow this process, but we have lowest threshold in American.”

“Am I worried about it? Of course I am worried about it. The nature of these things, the up or down question, the zero sum nature of the question is challenging. It’s vexing. So we are taking it seriously.”

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