(KRON) — Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) said she is “troubled” by remarks Gov. Gavin Newsom made about appointing an interim replacement for Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Feinstein, 90, is not running for reelection. Lee, along with Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) and Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine), is one of three leading candidates to fill the veteran senator’s seat.
Newsom has previously stated that if Feinstein were to resign, he would appoint a Black woman to the seat. In an appearance on “Meet the Press” this weekend, Newsom reiterated that position.
However, when pressed by the show’s host, Newsom said he would not appoint any of the people currently running for the seat, which would preclude Lee from being appointed.
“I don’t want to get involved in the primary,” said Newsom in remarks cited by Politico, adding it would be “completely unfair to the Democrats that have worked their tail off.”
While Newsom stopped short of saying outright that he would appoint a caretaker to the seat, he declined to push back when host Chuck Todd said the appointee “would be essentially a caretaker.”
“I am troubled by the Governor’s remarks,” Rep. Lee said in a tweet. “The idea that a Black woman should be appointed only as a caretaker to simply check a box is insulting to countless Black women across this country who have carried the Democratic party to victory election after election.”
“There are currently no Black women serving in the Senate,” Lee went on to say. “Since 1789, there have only been two Black woman Senators, who have served a total of 10 years.”
“Black women deserve more than a participation trophy. We need a seat at the table,” Lee added in a subsequent tweet.
The last Black woman to serve in the U.S. Senate was Vice President Kamala Harris. Newsom appointed California’s junior senator Alex Padilla to her seat.
“I don’t want to make another appointment,” Newsom said, “and I don’t think the people of California want me to make another appointment.
According to a Berkeley IGS poll released last week, Lee is trailing Schiff and Porter among likely voters in the Democratic primary.