Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein (CA), 88, is in such bad shape that her own Democrat colleagues want her to retire before her term expires at the end of 2024.
In December 2020, The New Yorker, citing people familiar with the matter, Feinstein had been “seriously struggling” and her short-term memory “has grown so poor that she often forgets she has been briefed on a topic, accusing her staff of failing to do so just after they have.”
Feinstein has now significantly declined since the New Yorker’s report and Democrats are worried she cannot fulfill her duties.
According to Democrats who spoke to the San Francisco Chronicle on the condition of anonymity, Feinstein’s cognitive decline is so bad that a lawmaker had to reintroduce themselves to her multiple times during one encounter.
The Chronicle spoke with four US Senators and three former Feinstein staffers about the California Senator’s cognitive decline.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported:
When a California Democrat in Congress recently engaged in an extended conversation with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, they prepared for a rigorous policy discussion like those they’d had with her many times over the last 15 years.
Instead, the lawmaker said, they had to reintroduce themselves to Feinstein multiple times during an interaction that lasted several hours.
Rather than delve into policy, Feinstein, 88, repeated the same small-talk questions, like asking the lawmaker what mattered to voters in their district, they said, with no apparent recognition the two had already had a similar conversation.
The episode was so unnerving that the lawmaker — who spoke to The Chronicle on condition they not be identified because of the sensitivity of the topic — began raising concerns with colleagues to see if some kind of intervention to persuade Feinstein to retire was possible. Feinstein’s term runs through the end of 2024. The conversation occurred several weeks before the death of her husband in February.
“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. All of that is gone,” the lawmaker said. “She was an intellectual and political force not that long ago, and that’s why my encounter with her was so jarring. Because there was just no trace of that.”
Feinstein declined an interview with The Chronicle.
“The last year has been extremely painful and distracting for me, flying back and forth to visit my dying husband who passed just a few weeks ago,” Feinstein told The Chronicle. “But there’s no question I’m still serving and delivering for the people of California, and I’ll put my record up against anyone’s.”
Dianne Feinstein in February announced her husband of more than 40 years, Richard Blum, died of lung cancer at the age of 86.