Lawmakers say Dianne Feinstein’s mental fitness is declining rapidly, reports claims

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At least four senators, including three Democrats, and a representative from California’s US House of Representatives are among a group of lawmakers who spoke anonymously to the Chronicle of San Francisco Saying they were genuinely concerned Longtime Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)’s memory is fading to the point where it’s difficult for her to do her job.

Important facts

The lawmakers, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of jeopardizing their relationship with the 88-year-old senator, described observing regular memory lapses at Feinstein and claimed she was unable to recognize longtime colleagues on her worst days.

Feinstein also regularly struggles to keep up with talks on matters like draft legislation, according to lawmakers, with one member of Congress saying there is “just no trace” of the authoritative presence Feinstein has had in the Senate for decades.

One lawmaker said that timeline They were so concerned after speaking with Feinstein that they urged colleagues to intervene to persuade the senator to retire before her term expires in early 2025.

Feinstein appears to rely on her staff much more than other senators, according to the report timelinealthough staff turnover at her office has increased every year since 2017.

Concerns about Feinstein’s mental fitness have been raised before, particularly in 2020 New Yorker Article in which people close to her expressed similar concerns about her mental state; Feinstein said that Los Angeles Times after New Yorker piece was published “I don’t feel like my cognitive abilities have diminished.”

In a statement to forbes Through a spokesperson, Feinstein addressed the mental fitness concerns, saying, “The real question is whether I’m still an effective representative for 40 million Californians, and the record shows I am.”

Crucial quote

“I’ve 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 control, on top of the details, basically couldn’t resist having a conversation, where she drove a bill or an idea. All of that is gone,” one lawmaker said timeline.


Lawmakers said there are times when Feinstein still appears sharp, like during last month’s confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice-designate Ketanji Brown Jackson.

main critic

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has blasted the allegations against Feinstein, telling the Chronicle she “works tirelessly to make sure the needs of Californians are met and voices are heard,” and called it “ruthless”. Feinstein faced such “ridiculous attacks” shortly after the death of her husband, in his 40s. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) also pushed back against claims that Feinstein was unfit for duty.

key background

Feinstein boasts one of the most illustrious political careers of any incumbent official, beginning with her election to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1969. She became San Francisco’s first female mayor in 1978, following the assassination of Mayor George Moscone and the board Supervisors member Harvey Milk, who was one of the first openly gay elected officials in US history. Feinstein became a senator in 1992 and is now one of the longest-serving members of the chamber. That seniority has resulted in her being given prominent roles on numerous high-profile committees, such as the Senate Judiciary Committee, lawmakers said timeline makes it even more important that any mental disability issues be addressed quickly.


Feinstein has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years for her apparent mental weaknesses following Senate Judiciary Committee hearings in 2020 during the confirmation trial for Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Feinstein stunned fellow Democrats at the end of the hearings when she praised then-committee chair Sen. Lindsey Graham (RS.C.) for overseeing “one of the best hearings I’ve attended,” while most Democrats condemned the proceedings how rushed. The comments led to calls for Feinstein’s resignation.

Further reading

Colleagues fear Dianne Feinstein is now mentally unfit, citing recent interactions (San Francisco Chronicle)

Senate Confirms Ketanji Brown Jackson Before Supreme Court (Forbes)

Calls for Feinstein to step down as top Democrat on Judiciary Committee after Barrett hearings grow (Forbes)


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