Rep. Barbara Lee

Rep. Barbara Lee Is Not Here For Gov. Newsom Appointing A Black Woman To ‘Babysit’ Cali’s Senate Seat

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has been vocal about keeping Black women legislators close to him since Vice President Kamala Harris took office. Most recently, with Sen. Dianne Feinstein falling ill and no longer running for 2023 re-election, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) has been a frontrunner to take her seat.

However, an announcement from Newsom disqualifies Lee from that opportunity, FOX News reports. Newsom announced he won’t be selecting any of the current candidates running to replace her as the interim candidate, backtracking on his previous statements. “Yes. Interim appointment. I don’t want to get involved in the primary,” Newsom told NBC’s Meet the Press host, Chuck Todd.

“It would be completely unfair to the Democrats that have worked their tail off. That primary is just a matter of months away. I don’t want to tip the balance of that.”

Plenty of fellow Democrats have had their eyes on Feinstein’s seat, including Lee who initially was a frontrunner. The only two Black female senators were both on the blue side of the aisle. Lee released a statement criticizing Newsom’s announcement, saying his promise of appointing a Black woman as a “caretaker” is insulting.

“I am troubled by the Governor’s remarks,” Lee wrote, according to KTVU. “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.”

Lee continued to point out that there are currently no Black women serving in the Senate and only two Black woman Senators, serving for 10 years, since 1789. “Black women deserve more than a participation trophy. We need a seat at the table.”

Anthony York, Newsom’s senior advisor of Communications & Strategy, responded to Lee’s statement saying, “It’s a hypothetical on top of a hypothetical.” There is no vacancy for any U.S. Senate seat, nor does the Governor anticipate there will be one,” York said. “Voters will have their say on who should replace Senator Feinstein when they go to the polls less than 6 months from now.”

Feinstein is the oldest member of the Senate at 90 years old, taking office more than 30 years ago.