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Despite growing concerns about her allegedly ailing mental health, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, 88, remains adamant that she’s just fine, telling the media that if anything, she’s “rather puzzled” by the hubbub over her cognitive state.
“I meet regularly with leaders. I’m not isolated. I see people. My attendance is good. I put in the hours. We represent a huge state. And so I’m rather puzzled by all of this,” she said late Thursday to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Asked whether her colleagues in Congress have raised concerns to her directly, she replied, “No, that conversation has not happened. The real conversation is whether I’m an effective representative for 40 million people.”
She pushed back even harder against the prevailing narrative about her health (see below) in a lengthier statement to People magazine.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) April 14, 2022
“I remain committed to do what I said I would when I was re-elected in 2018: fight for Californians, especially on the economy and the key issues for California of water and fire. While I have focused for much of the past year on my husband’s health and ultimate passing, I have remained committed to achieving results and I’d put my record up against anyone’s,” she said.
“In the past few months, I successfully led the reauthorization of the bipartisan Violence Against Women Act, secured more direct government funding for my state than any other Democratic senator other than the chairman of the Appropriations Committee and secured additional funding to retain federal firefighters to help California prepare for the upcoming wildfire season,” the Democrat added.
The clapback came hours after the Chronicle ran an extensive report claiming that both Feinstein’s colleagues and staffers worry that she’s become mentally unfit to serve in Congress.
As an example of the senator’s worsening cognitive health, one California Democrat described a recent interaction wherein they had to be reintroduced to her multiple times during a policy discussion that lasted several hours.
Each time, Feinstein “repeated the same small-talk questions, like asking the lawmaker what mattered to voters in their district, the member of Congress said, with no apparent recognition the two had already had a similar conversation,” according to the Chronicle.
The encounter left the unnamed California Democrat so stunned that they “began raising concerns with colleagues to see if some kind of intervention to persuade Feinstein to retire was possible.”
Her current term expires in 2024, the same year that she turns 91 (in June), and she’s reportedly already filed the initial paperwork to run for re-election.
Senator Dianne Feinstein of California (87 Years Old) has just filed the paperwork for re-election in 2024.
She will be 90 years old.
— Omar Navarro (@RealOmarNavarro) January 25, 2021
“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,” the unnamed lawmaker said to the Chronicle.
“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.”
But not everybody agrees with the unnamed lawmaker. Her colleague Sen. Alex Padilla, also a California Democrat, told the Chronicle that, as far as he can tell, Feinstein’s just fine.
“I’ve heard some of the same concerns, but as someone who sees her multiple times a week, including on the Senate Judiciary Committee, I can tell you she’s still doing the job and doing it well,” he said.
The numbers tell a different story. Campaign filings reportedly show that Feinstein raised only $5,566.33 throughout all of 2021. Padilla, on the other hand, raised $7.8 million. Even her “fellow octogenarian” colleague Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, 82, raised over $1 million.
Feinstein’s public behavior also appears to tell a different story.
“She rarely engages with the public outside her official duties as a member of Senate committees, including the Senate Intelligence Committee, which handles sensitive national intelligence, nor does she do extended sit-down interviews with the media,” according to the Chronicle.
“She does field questions from the press in the Senate hallways, but often responds by saying she doesn’t know enough to comment or gives nonspecific responses,” the outlet added.
To the Democrat Party base, these signs all point to the need for her to retire and pass the torch on to the next generation of (presumably far more radical) Democrats:
Senator @SenFeinstein, thank you for your many years of dedicated service.
You have earned a well deserved retirement
No, really. Please.
Thank you again for your many years of faithful service.
Now, please, go.
— Phill Conrad 🇺🇦 (@pconrad) April 15, 2022
Senator @SenFeinstein, I respect you highly. You’ve been my senator for many years, and for that, I thank you deeply. But, it’s time to retire. The governor has many awesome candidates to represent us. Enjoy life and California’s beauty. You deserve it.
— Just BB (@BrenBreithaupt) April 14, 2022
Dear @SenFeinstein – I have admired you for my whole adult life (native Californian here). PLEASE don’t let your legacy be that you refused to retire in time for your place to be filled by someone worth the spot.
— Karyn MASKS ARE A SUPERPOWER Casl (@caslk) April 14, 2022
I still don’t understand why we don’t have TERM LIMITS!!!!
Senator Feinstein should’ve retired 10yrs ago at the very least… it’s illogical to be that someone can serve 30yrs!!
Dear @SenFeinstein for the love of God and our beautiful State please RETIRE.
— LAKER GIRL (@LakersJo) April 14, 2022
I have been a long time supporter of Dianne Feinstein so it pains me to say, she needs to retire. Kick off the pumps and put on the comfies, it’s time. ❤️
Let the youth of today take center stage.@SenFeinstein
— DLHawley (@DLHJumbaco) April 15, 2022
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