Feinstein’s Future Could Swing on Husband’s Potential Posting Overseas

Senator Dianne Feinstein’s husband, Richard Blum, is seeking an overseas posting, which could pave the way for her to leave the Senate. She said she would “absolutely’’ serve out her term. WASHINGTON — Richard Blum, a wealthy investor and the husband of Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, has indicated to President Biden’s advisers that he’s interested in being appointed to an ambassadorship, a move that would renew questions about Ms. Feinstein’s political future. Mr. Blum, according to Democrats in California and Washington, is eyeing a European capital, a posting that could pave the way for the 87-year-old Ms. Feinstein to leave the Senate. In November, she agreed to relinquish her ranking position on the Judiciary Committee under pressure from Senator Chuck Schumer, now the majority leader, and other Democrats. Should Mr. Blum, 85, be appointed and Ms. Feinstein join him overseas, it could solve an increasingly awkward problem for Democrats. Senior party officials have been blunt in private about what they describe as the senator’s diminished acuity and are eager to replace her with a Black woman, of which there are none in the Senate after the departure of Vice President Kamala Harris. Progressive Democrats have also suggested that Ms. Feinstein’s decorous approach was ill-suited for dealing with the increasingly acrimonious partisan politics in Congress. They were particularly upset during the Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Justice Amy Coney Barrett last fall when Ms. Feinstein praised the way Republicans had handled the hearings. Soon afterward, Mr. Schumer and other Democrats persuaded her not to seek the leadership role on the Judiciary Committee. On Tuesday, Ms. Feinstein was emphatic that she would serve the remainder of her term, which lasts until 2025, and brushed aside questions about her fitness.“Absolutely,” she told reporters in the Capitol when asked if she was able to serve fully. “I think that’s pretty obvious.”But some of her own Democratic colleagues have been raising concerns for months about what they perceive as Ms. Feinstein’s decline — though always beneath the cloak of anonymity to avoid publicly nudging a pillar of the Senate, and one of the most prominent women in American politics, toward the exits. Mr. Biden has not been involved in any effort to sideline Ms. Feinstein. He has a longstanding relationship with her and Mr. Blum, who hosted a fund-raiser for Mr. Biden at his and Ms. Feinstein’s San Francisco home in 2019. Ms. Feinstein expressed her support for Mr. Biden’s presidential bid early and pointedly dismissed the candidacy of Ms. Harris, then her fellow senator from California, noting that Ms. Harris “is brand-new here” in the capital. Mr. Biden, according to White House aides, is open to appointing Mr. Blum to an ambassadorship, which is among the most coveted positions in any administration.

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