Sen. Dianne Feinstein engaged with youth climate action activists Friday and an initial video clip showed her reprimanding the young people seeking to get answers about the proposed Green New Deal and her failure to support the bill. Feinstein Friday released her draft climate change resolution, which can be read below.
“I know what I’m doing,” she told the young people.
The exchange took place in her San Francisco office during a meeting on climate change, according to a statement issued by the senator.
By late Friday, additional clips were threaded together as well as the entire meeting later uploaded to YouTube and Facebook, which some say provides a fuller picture.
Indeed, a number of public figures and others on Twitter claim they were duped with an out-of-context initial short clip that appeared to show Feinstein reprimanding the middle and high school-age activists asking Feinstein about the future of action on climate change and in specific, the Green New Deal.
When one student says “scientists say we have 12 years to turn this around,” Feinstein tells the young people, who are accompanied by adults, that climate change won’t be “turned around in 10 years.” One of the adults interrupts and tells her she’s looking at the faces of the people who in 12 years will be paying the price for inaction on climate change. A young girl says the government is supposed to be by and for the people. Feinstein balks: “You know what’s interesting about this group? I’ve been doing this for 30 years. I know what I’m doing. You come in and say it has to be my way or the highway. I don’t respond to that.”
And that’s in part the statement that had many angered.
The Sunrise Movement said her reaction, and failure to support the Green New Deal as proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and others is the reason why new leadership in Congress is needed.
“This is how @SenFeinstein reacted to children asking her to support the #GreenNewDeal resolution — with smugness + disrespect. This is a fight for our generation’s survival. Her reaction is why young people desperately want new leadership in Congress.”
But that interchange represented seconds of the full meeting between Feinstein and the students and by late Friday night, many were speaking out.
“I certainly let my prior of Senator Feinstein drive my acceptance of the earlier edited clip, that was bad on me. She is certainly not a bold progressive, but she definitely treats the children very nicely, in the face of some hostility, in the full video.”
“I watched the whole Dianne Feinstein video, and I have to say, I’m baffled by the outrage. I say this episode was a good thing. Yes, she was at times cantankerous and a bit dismissive of the legitimate political aspirations of these children and their parents,” Greg Sargent wrote.
Nonetheless, the incident led to widespread criticism of the senior Senator from California and even calls for her resignation. But there’s been some backtracking on those calls. But not by all.
Feinstein issued a statement addressing the meeting and then tweeted out the explanation.
“This morning I spoke with a small group of children, young adults and parents from the Sunrise Movement, who were delivering a letter in support of the Green New Deal resolution.
“Unfortunately, it was a brief meeting but I want the children to know they were heard loud and clear. I have been and remain committed to doing everything I can to enact real, meaningful climate change legislation.
“We had a spirited discussion and I presented the group with my draft resolution that provides specific responses to the climate change crisis, which I plan to introduce soon. I always welcome the opportunity to hear from Californians who feel passionately about this issue and it remains a top priority of mine.”
Here’s Feinstein’s draft climate change resolution:
This is a developing story.