- 88-year-old Sen. Dianne Feinstein says she won’t resign, despite concerns about her mental fitness.
- “I’m rather puzzled by all of this,” Feinstein told the editorial board of the San Francisco Chronicle.
- Even fellow Democrats have begun to privately express concerns about whether she can do her job.
Following a report from the San Francisco Chronicle that raised fresh concerns about Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s mental fitness, the 88-year-old California Democrat indicated that she’s not going anywhere.
“I meet regularly with leaders,” she told the Chronicle’s editorial board on Thursday. “I’m not isolated. I see people. My attendance is good. I put in the hours. We represent a huge state. And so I’m rather puzzled by all of this.”
The Chronicle reported that four of her Senate colleagues, including three Democrats, said they believe the senator’s memory is rapidly deteriorating.
A House Democrat from California also anonymously told the Chronicle that they had to reintroduce themselves to Feinstein several times during a recent hours-long policy discussion, prompting that member to begin raising concerns to fellow colleagues and see if Feinstein could be convinced to resign.
“It shouldn’t end this way for her. She deserves better,” the California Democrat told the Chronicle. “Those who think that they are serving her or honoring her by sweeping all of this under the rug are doing her an enormous disservice.”
Feinstein admitted to not recognizing the colleague on Thursday, but blamed the lapse on stress caused by the prolonged illness of her late husband, Richard Blum, who died in February.
“I’ve had a rough year. A cancer death doesn’t come fast,” she said. “And this is the second husband I’ve lost to cancer.”
But fellow lawmakers contended that her condition is only worsening.
“I have worked with her for a long time and long enough to know what she was like just a few years ago: always in command, always in charge, on top of the details, basically couldn’t resist a conversation where she was driving some bill or some idea,” the lawmaker told the Chronicle. “All of that is gone.”
“She was an intellectual and political force not that long ago, and that’s why my encounter with her was so jarring,” the lawmaker added. “Because there was just no trace of that.”
“It’s bad, and it’s getting worse,” a Democratic senator anonymously told the Chronicle.
“There’s a joke on the Hill, we’ve got a great junior senator in Alex Padilla and an experienced staff in Feinstein’s office,” one staffer working for a California Democrat told the Chronicle.
Feinstein, the oldest member of the Senate, has previously been the subject of concerns about her mental acuity. After facing criticism for her handling of the Supreme Court confirmation hearing of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, a report from the New Yorker in December 2020 raised similar concerns.
According to that report, then-Minority Leader Chuck Schumer installed his own aide on the Judiciary Committee, which Feinstein chaired at the time, to serve as his “eyes and ears” on her.
Feinstein stepped down as chair of the committee in November 2020.
It should be noted that she has already filed to run again for another term. 88 years old, failing mental ability to age alone would be understandable but she clearly has something else going on. Not to be one sided 88 year old Chuck Grassley is also running for another 6 year term. Doesn’t the US have younger people that want to use their time to make a fortune and gain power pretending to serve the people? We are so at a loss for politicians we must press 88 year old’s into keeping their aged hands into the power trough. What a sad situation. Our founding fathers pictured a civilian political system, people would serve a term or two then go home. Maybe even come back later to do another term. The last thing they wanted was a full-time political class that enriches themselves at public expense.