California Senator Dianne Feinstein said she will not give up her position until it ends in 2024, despite Democratic colleagues saying they are concerned that she is ‘mentally unfit to serve’.
Feinstein, 88, said she meets ‘regularly’ with leaders and is not ‘isolated’, according to four senators – three of them The Democrats – a member of the California Congress, and three former staff members said their short-term memory diminishes.
‘I see people. My turnout is good. I put in the hours. We represent an enormous state. And so I’m quite surprised by all this, ‘she said San Francisco Chronicle.
Feinstein, one of the longest-serving senators, was long known in Washington for his problem-oriented passion and quick wit, but now people who have worked with the California legislature for years say she has trouble getting them recognize and repeat the same few talking points.
The senator said no one had brought these concerns directly to her.
“No, that conversation did not happen,” she told the Chronicle. ‘The real conversation is whether I’m an effective representative for 40 million people.’
There has been talk of convincing them to resign before their current term ends in 2024.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, 88, said she would not resign her position before it ends in 2024, despite Democratic colleagues saying they were concerned she was ‘mentally unfit to serve’
She said she meets “regularly” with leaders and is not “isolated” after four senators – three of them Democrats – a member of the California Congress, and three former staff members said their short-term memory diminishes
An employee of another senator’s office was also quoted as saying they had seen their boss out of the way to re-introduce himself to Feinstein before talking to her.
“We have a ‘New Clothes’ issue here,” said an unnamed California lawmaker, referring to a fable about fear of speaking out against power.
‘I’ve worked with her for a long time and long enough to know what she was like a few years ago: always in command, always in leadership, on top of the details, could in principle not hold back a conversation in which she had some advice or some idea. That’s all gone, ‘they said.
The member of Congress described an hour-long conversation in which they had to re-introduce themselves to the veterans senator several times and ran back to the same questions without indicating that they knew they had already dealt with it.
The legislature said: ‘She was not so long ago an intellectual and political force, and that is why my encounter with her was so terrible. Because there was just no trace of that. ‘
That and the other interactions described in the report happened before the death of Feinstein’s husband in February of this year.
These so-called ‘memory lapses’ are marked by days in which Feinstein ‘is almost as sharp as she once was’, reports the Chronicle. ‘But some near her said that in her most difficult days, she does not fully recognize even long-term colleagues.’
One Democratic senator said, ‘It’s bad, and it’s getting worse.
The 88-year-old senator (pictured in 1977) is widely seen as a pioneer in California politics
Feinstein was presumably ‘composed’ during the trial of future Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s affirmative action in March, although the Chronicle also notes that it ‘repeated’ comments’ about Jackson’s calmness during the grilling.
A Capitol Hill staffer said a “joke” had arisen over the state’s 40 million state representation in the Senate: ‘We have a great junior senator in Alex Padilla and a talented staff in Feinstein’s office.’
But it has also alarmed people in Congress that the eighteen-year-old ‘can no longer carry out her duties without her staff doing a lot of the work’ to represent her constituents.
“It’s really difficult to have a micromanager who does not remember everything we talked about,” said a former employee, who described a situation in which Feinstein would slow down the progress of an important investigation. t, the assistant believed, she could not fully understand it.
“My biggest concern is that it’s a real disgrace to the people of California.”
The report notes that Feinstein is seen at all times with at least one staff member in the Capitol, and that she dramatically reduced the pace of her public appearances.
The California senior senator has not held a town hall in more than four years, the Chronicle said, and she often refuses lengthy interviews with journalists.
Freshman Senator Alex Padilla, who was appointed to replace Vice President Kamala Harris and is running for re-election this November, would have done 18 public polls and 250 media interviews last year.
Feinstein’s office told the Chronicle that she attended many public events during the years-long gap, but that she stopped in 2022 due to the death of her husband and the COVID-19 pandemic.
She served as the first female president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisor when she gained national attention for leading the city through the infamous 1978 assassination of Mayor George Moscone and city councilor Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to was elected to California politics (photos) in 1992)
Feinstein in 1971, when she was running for mayor
“The last year has been extremely painful and distracting for me, and flew back and forth to visit my dying husband who died just a few weeks ago,” Feinstein said in a statement to the Chronicle, although a live interview declined.
“But there is no question that I still serve and deliver for the people of California, and I will set my record against everyone.”
Campaign reports covering 2021 show that Feinstein raised only $ 5,566.33 over that entire year, a low number for one with her years-long ties in top political circles in Washington and California.
Padilla raised $ 7.8 million in the same period.
Feinstein’s fellow octogenarian senator, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, raised $ 1,001,415.87 last year. Leahy will retire at the end of his term in 2022, though it’s common for veteran lawmakers to collect money for their party and colleagues in active campaign accounts until they leave office.
The 88-year-old senator is widely seen as a forerunner in California politics. She served as the first female president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisor when she gained national attention for leading the city through the infamous assassination in 1978 of Mayor George Moscone and city councilor Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to was elected in California politics.
After winning a 1992 special election, Feinstein became the first woman to represent the Golden State in the Senate.
Former Senator Barbara Boxer, 81, was sworn in second shortly thereafter. Boxer retired in 2017 and was succeeded by Harris.
Her seniority has also given Feinstein some of the most powerful commission assignments in the House, including in the Judicial and Selected Intelligence Committee, giving her access to sensitive information and some of the most influential decisions in Congress – some even staff breaks indicate their old age, the report claims.
Yet other Democrats defended Feinstein as sharply and as directly as ever.
The junior senator from California Padilla said he ‘had heard some of the same concerns’, but she dismissed them when asked by the Chronicle.
“But as someone who sees her multiple times a week, including in the Senate Judiciary Committee, I can tell you that she’s still doing the job and doing it right,” Padilla said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was elected to Feinstein’s delegation to the California Congress only five years ago, described the discussions about the mental acuity of her peers as ‘unconscious’.
“Senator Feinstein is a workhorse for the people of California and a respected leader among her colleagues in the Senate,” Pelosi said, adding that Feinstein “constantly traveled” through the country to fulfill her duties.
It is ‘unknowingly that, just weeks after the loss of her beloved husband of more than four decades and after decades of excellent leadership to our city and state, she is subjected to these ridiculous attacks that are beneath the dignity in which’ t she has let and the esteem in which she is held, ‘concluded Pelosi.
But the Democratic lawmaker, who described her awkward hour-long conversation with Feinstein, summed up the delicate discussion about the senator’s future compared to her long history of serving the country.
‘It should not end like this for them. She deserves better, ‘they said.
However, she added that ‘Those who think they are serving or honoring them by sweeping it all under the rug are doing them an enormous disservice.
US Senator Dianne Feinstein, 88, will NOT step down before her term ends in 2024 Source link US Senator Dianne Feinstein, 88, will NOT step down before her term ends in 2024