Report: Dems Worry Sen. Feinstein Mentally Unfit to Serve Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. (Greg Nash/Pool via AP)
By Nicole Wells | Thursday, 14 April 2022 03:54 PM
Congressional Democrats are worried that 88-year-old Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has become mentally unfit to serve out the remainder of her term, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
According to the Chronicle, one lawmaker who has known the senator for 15 years had to reintroduce themselves to Feinstein multiple times during a recent meeting.
"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, who did not wish to be identified, told the news outlet.
"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."
Four Democrats in total, including three senators, say they have concerns about Feinstein's cognitive fitness.
During last month's Supreme Court confirmation hearings, the longtime senator often repeated herself.
"It's bad, and it's getting worse," one Democrat senator said.
In September, former Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., became the first party member to suggest Feinstein should consider retiring.
"If Sen. Feinstein were to call me today and asked my advice … I would say only you can decide this," Boxer told the Los Angeles Times. "But from my perspective, I want you to know I've had very productive years away from the Senate doing good things. So put that into the equation."
Feinstein's alleged cognitive decline has been talked about for years, according to the Chronicle, intensifying in 2020.
That was when The New Yorker ran a story that said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., had to tell Feinstein more than once to step down as ranking member of the Judiciary Committee because she forgot about their initial conversation.
"It was like Groundhog Day," a Senate source told The New Yorker in 2020, "but with the pain fresh each time."
Feinstein has brushed off her critics, responding that she may forget things but that her mental fitness is not "diminished."
Some lawmakers have called their colleagues' concerns about Feinstein "ridiculous," including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., 82, and Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., who said Feinstein wrote him a letter after he sat for more than 24 hours in an I-95 traffic jam caused by a snowstorm.
The California senator has not held a town hall meeting in her home state since the beginning of her current term.