It's not great when TMZ is breaking the news about Dianne Feinstein landing in the hospital. But that is what happened Tuesday night, after the 90-year-old senator reportedly tripped in her San Francisco home.
TMZ somehow got the news that Feinstein was taken to UCSF Medical Center Tuesday after a fall at her home, and this was later confirmed by her office.
A statement released late Tuesday said, "Senator Feinstein briefly went to the hospital yesterday afternoon as a precaution after a minor fall in her home. All of her scans were clear and she returned home."
Her office told the New York Times that Feinstein tripped over a chair in her kitchen.
Feinstein's health has become national news ever since March, when she had a case of shingles that landed her in the hospital, and she was subsequently absent from the Senate for nearly three months.
Feinstein returned to the Senate on May 10 looking visibly diminished, and showing the effects of what we learned was Ramsay Hunt Syndrome — a side-effect of shingles that can cause lasting impairments, including to one's mobility. Feinstein was subsequently mostly seen in the Senate in a wheelchair.
The senator returned home to San Francisco on July 28, when Congress began its August recess, but she was a no-show at an anniversary event for the first cable car last week which she was scheduled to attend. A spokesperson said she was "not feeling well and has a cough."
There have been broad calls for Feinstein to retire a year and a half early, before the end of her current term, which would allow Governor Gavin Newsom to name her replacement. However, many have pointed out that Feinstein holds some important committee positions — especially on the Judiciary Committee — and it's highly likely that Republicans would block any effort to assign a new California senator or any other Democrat to fill her seat. That would leave the Judiciary Committee deadlocked, with an even number of Republicans and Democrats, and unable to advance many of President Biden's judicial nominees for the remainder of his term.
Feinstein has said she has no intention of stepping down before her current term is through.
Still, news items like this one are likely to continue, and like one shortly before the congressional recess, where video surfaced of Feinstein sounding confused during a routine committee vote.
Also, we learned earlier this week that amid a legal battle involving a home in Stinson Beach, Feinstein has signed her power of attorney over to her daughter, Katherine Feinstein. She and her daughter are trying to sell the home, which belonged to the senator and her late husband, Richard Blum, however Blum's children from a previous marriage oppose the sale.
Photo: U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) listens during a confirmation hearing for Michael Casey and U.S. Air Force Lieutenant General Timothy Haugh before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence at Hart Senate Office Building on July 12, 2023 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Casey will become the next Director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center and Lt. Gen. Haugh will become the next Director of the National Security Agency if confirmed by the U.S. Senate. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)