CALIFORNIA Senator Dianne Feinstein, 87, wouldn’t answer whether she would step down before her term ends in 2024 after a report came out claiming she was “seriously struggling” with cognitive decline.
“Well, if it changes, I’ll let you know,” said Feinstein, the oldest member of the Senate, when responding to a reporter who asked if she would reconsider her six-year terms – which ends in 2024 – due to claims she struggles to remember meetings that recently occurred.
“I do,” she said when asked if she is still capable of handling the tasks of her job. “I work hard.”
“I have good staff. I think I am productive. And I represent the people of California as well as I possibly can,” Feinstein replied.
The question comes a day after the New Yorker published a report claiming the senator became disorientated in meetings and often forgot being briefed on a topic.
The report alleges Feinstein would often accuse “her staff of failing to do so just after they have” due to her forgetfulness.
The damning revelation has sent shockwaves through the Senate, with many politicos discussing how to handle Feinstein’s mental stamina.
“The staff is in such a bad position,” a former Senate aide told the New Yorker. “They have to defend her and make her seem normal.”
The report also said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer had multiple “painful” discussions with Feinstein about stepping down, and even asked for help from Feinstein’s billionaire husband, Richard C. Blum.
A source related to the publication that Feinstein often forgot her conversations with Schumer, forcing the leader to speak with her yet again.
“It was like ‘Groundhog Day’ but with the pain fresh each time,” a source told the publication.
When asked if she found the report to be accurate and fair, Feinstein responded “No, not particularly. No one talked to me.”
Others blamed the Minority Leader for not taking Feinstein out of the running in 2018 when she went up for reelection.
She would end her current term at the age of 91. Schumer did not comment on the issue.
This isn’t the first time Feinstein’s behavior as a senator has led to questions about her cognitive performance.
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They first began during Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings in 2018 but spiked during Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearing this past summer.
Feinstein has since stepped down as ranking member of the Judiciary Committee last month.
Schumer was apparently so alarmed about Feinstein’s performance that he “installed a trusted former aide, Max Young, to ’embed’ in the Judiciary Committee to make sure the hearings didn’t go off the rails,” the New Yorker report alleged.