A California lawmaker reported concern about the mental health of Senator Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) after recent conversations with her.
According to a “San Francisco Chronicle” report, a Democrat from The Golden State claimed having to repeatedly reintroduce themselves to Feinstein. The member of Congress reportedly spoke on the condition the publication would not publicize their identify.
Senator Feinstein, 88, reportedly repeated the same small-talk questions, like asking what mattered to voters in their district, apparently forgetting the two had already had discussed that.
The octogenarian repeated the same small-talk questions instead of discussing weighty policy matters, as has been her wont for most of her career. The California colleague was reportedly worried enough about her mental state that she broached the subject of persuading Feinstein to retire. The senior senator’s term extends until 2024, and the conversation with her occurred before the death of the senator’s husband.
Her husband, Richard Blum, died February 27 from cancer, according to a report in the New York Post.
“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 details, basically couldn’t resist a conversation where she was driving some bill or some idea,” said the lawmaker who reportedly knew Feinstein for 15 years. “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. Because there was just no trace of that.”
Four Feinstein Senate colleagues and three former staffers indicated the 88-year-old’s memory is rapidly deteriorating and her staff does much of her work, according to the Chronicle report.
Colleagues who raised concern about Feinstein’s cognitive ability noted she has good days and bad days and occasionally appears like her old self.
“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 responded to 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.”
Fellow octogenarian House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) defended Feinstein. “Senator Feinstein is a workhorse for the people of California and a respected leader among her colleagues in the Senate,” stated the 82-year-old leader of the House. “She is constantly traveling between California and the Capitol, working relentlessly to ensure Californians’ needs are met and voices are heard.
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