Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) is 88 and still serving in the Senate. Some colleagues are beginning to question whether she is still fit for office.
“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,” The San Francisco Chronicle reported. “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 paper said.
Of course, lawmakers don’t like to simply retire and fade away. They’ve spent their lives in the limelight and disappearing is their big fear. What’s more, when lawmakers die in office, they sometimes lay in state in the U.S. Capitol, a high honor.
But there is concern now that Feinstein is “rapidly deteriorating.”
“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,” the Chronicle said in a piece headlined “Colleagues worry Dianne Feinstein is now mentally unfit to serve, citing recent interactions.”
Feinstein won’t be up for re-election until 2024, but she has filed paperwork indicating she might run again. In January 2021, she filed the initial re-election paperwork with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) last week, L.A. Magazine reported.
A Feinstein rep reached out to L.A. Magazine to clarify what the FEC filings allegedly mean. “To be clear, Senator Feinstein has had a campaign committee since she took office, as all senators must. In order to keep this account active, the senator has to maintain filings with the FEC. Yesterday’s filings merely reflected an updated address,” the rep said. They also claimed that they didn’t have any “announcement” regarding a 2024 Feinstein run.
The Chronicle cited other unnamed people, including senators, who said it’s clear Feinstein is deteriorating. “It’s bad, and it’s getting worse,” one Democratic senator told the paper. “This person said that within the Senate, Feinstein has difficulty keeping up with conversations and discussions.”
“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,” said a staffer for a California Democrat.
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent, and ran the Drudge Report from 2010 to 2015. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.