Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) has been catching an earful over a heated debate she had on Feb. 22 with young supporters of the Green New Deal. During the confrontation, the congresswoman appeared to dismiss the concerns of the children, shutting them down in what some have described as stern and smug manners. As is the case with any controversy, Twitter quickly weighed in on the subject, but these tweets about Dianne Feinstein's climate change discussion don't all strike the same tone.
The intense conversation — which, per CNN, involved the politician and members of the Sunrise Movement, a youth-led organization pushing for climate change — came as the children were asking Feinstein to vote "yes" on the deal, which is a progressive-backed plan to tackle climate pollution before there are catastrophic environmental issues. (More on this in a sec.) At several points during the exchange, Feinstein delivers some seemingly harsh lines toward the group. Sunrise Movement shared a statement on Twitter about the exchange, saying Feintstein's response to the deal was "deeply disappointing." Feinstein later shared a response regarding the exchange on Twitter on Feb. 22, calling it a "spirited discussion" and saying, "...it was a brief meeting but I want children to know they were heard loud and clear."
"I’ve been doing this for 30 years. I know what I’m doing," Feinstein said in one part of the conversation, per the video. "You come in here and you say, 'It has to be my way or the highway.' I don't respond to that." Another moment features Feinstein telling a woman that she should one day run for the Senate so she can do things the way she wants to.
As clips of the conversation started surfacing online, the tweets started rolling out, and some people weren't so happy with Feinstein's reaction.
"You [don't] talk w/young ppl like this," Cincinnati, Ohio Council Member Tamaya Dennard tweeted. "Theres a better way to interact. Elected officials don’t know it all."
Then there were others who completely supported Feinstein.
"I actually think she handles this superbly," a person who goes by the name Mark Davis added.
Elite Daily reached out Sunrise Movement for further comment on the matter and was provided with Sunrise Movement's full statement on the matter. Posted on Twitter on Feb. 22, it said that Feinstein is "stuck in the past," and it also questioned her argument that there is "no way to pay" for the Green New Deal.
Feinstein also issued a statement on the subject on Friday night, in which she wrote that she heard the children "loud and clear" and that will continue to enact "meaningful climate change legislation." Feinstein's representation declined to comment further to Elite Daily beyond the public statement.
While there are definitely some tenuous moments in the video, it appears there is more context of the conversation in the longer video, which offers more insight into the exchange. Yeah, the awkward comments are still there, but is appears she also met with the group for about 15 minutes, printed out copies of her own climate change draft resolution for the group, and she engaged with the children, even discussing internship opportunities with one of the group members.
It might seem like the group stood in opposition to Feinstein and vice-versa, there was a point that looked like somewhat of an agreement, when one of the young adults said, "You can still vote 'yes' and it won’t pass, and we can draft a new plan." Feinstein shared she was open to doing that, saying, "Well, I may do that. We’ll see."
This comes as Democrats grapple with the Green New Deal, a 10-year effort to tackle climate change that has been championed by freshman superstar Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York). The plan calls to obtain "net-zero greenhouse gas emissions" by transitioning to renewable energy sources, encourage "clean" manufacturing to use renewable energy sources, overhaul the transportation system to eliminate pollution and make mass transit more feasible, and more. However, it has seen some criticism and lack of support, with many saying it simply feels too far fetched of an idea. "If anyone thinks that decarbonizing America is going to save the planet, they're delusional," Rep. David McKinley (R-West Virginia), according to The Daily Mail.
Supporters of the deal clearly aren't giving up, though. We'll see how or if their efforts pay off.