(breitbart) – Washington, DC, Democrats are struggling to keep Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA), who is 88-years-old, declining mental health a secret, according to the New York Times.
Feinstein — the Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member when the Democrats were in the minority party in the previous congress, then was forced by her caucus leader, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), to step down — has recently struggled to recall names of colleagues as well as meeting and conversations.
On Capitol Hill, among Democrats and Republicans, it has been “widely” but also “always privately” accepted that Feinstein is suffering from “acute short-term memory issues.”
The Time noted:
At 88, Ms. Feinstein sometimes struggles to recall the names of colleagues, frequently has little recollection of meetings or telephone conversations, and at times walks around in a state of befuddlement — including about why she is increasingly dogged by questions about whether she is fit to serve in the Senate representing the 40 million residents of California, according to half a dozen lawmakers and aides who spoke about the situation on the condition of anonymity.
Ms. Feinstein is often engaged during meetings and phone conversations, usually coming prepared and taking notes. But hours later, she will often have forgotten those interactions, said the people familiar with the situation, who insisted that they not be named because they did not want to be quoted disparaging a figure they respect.
One Democrat lawmaker who spoke with the Times on having close encounters with Feinstein in February said that it was “akin to acting as a caregiver for a person in need of constant assistance” and the person “recalled having to reintroduce themself to the senator multiple times, helping her locate her purse repeatedly, and answering the same set of basic, small-talk questions over and over again.”
A second Democrat lawmaker, who was at the same meeting, told the Times that the conversation was on a plane. The second lawmaker said the interaction was “pleasant and brief” with nothing “out of the ordinary.”
“Last week, Ms. Feinstein was spotted flying in first class from San Francisco to Washington with her longtime housekeeper seated next to her,” the Times noted.
Some reports, which Breitbart News chronicled from the San Francisco Chronicle, even acknowledged that her declining health might mean it is time for her to resign in the near future, although her office says she has no plans to leave office before the end of her term.
The Chronicle noted remarks from her former staffers and Democrat colleagues:
Four U.S. senators, including three Democrats, as well as three former Feinstein staffers and the California Democratic member of Congress told The Chronicle in recent interviews that her memory is rapidly deteriorating. They said it appears she can no longer fulfill her job duties without her staff doing much of the work required to represent the nearly 40 million people of California.
They said that the memory lapses do not appear to be constant and that some days she is nearly as sharp as she used to be. During the March confirmation hearing for soon-to-be-Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, Feinstein appeared composed as she read pertinent questions, though she repeated comments to Jackson about the judge’s composure in the face of tough questioning. But some close to her said that on her most difficult days, she does not seem to fully recognize even longtime colleagues.
“It’s bad, and it’s getting worse,” said one Democratic senator. This person said that within the Senate, Feinstein has difficulty keeping up with conversations and discussions.
If she were to retire, it would allow California Gov. Gavin Newson (D) to handpick a younger, more liberal person to fill in the remainder of her term. And, of course, that appointee would have the upper hand when they run for reelection. Breitbart News’s Joel Pollak added:
Critics have raised such concerns about Feinstein before, notably when she showed some civility toward Republicans during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Amy Barrett in 2020. Feinstein also rankled Democrats by praising one of Barrett’s answers to her questions. Feinstein, who was the ranking member of the minority party on the committee, was forced by caucus leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to step down from her post.
There were also concerns raised about Feinstein’s age during her last re-election effort in 2018, when she was attacked by local activists as being too moderate. The California Democratic Party actually refused to endorse her for re-election.
In response to the reports, Feinstein, in a statement to the Times, acknowledged that the past year has been rough for her since her husband passed away but noted how effective she is by touting the millions of dollars she secured for her state. The senator said:
It’s true the last year has been difficult caring for my dying husband and grieving over his passing, but I’ve remained committed to achieving results and I would put my record up against anyone’s. If the question is whether I’m an effective senator for 40 million Californians, the record shows that I am.
The senator’s stepdaughter, Annette Blum, told the Times that the senator makes her decisions, whether the rest of the family agrees or not.
“We have the utmost respect for her life in public service and her career,” Blum. “The decision is ultimately hers. We will all be there to support her in whatever decision she makes. The whole family feels this way.”