Dianne Feinstein Seems to Forget her Absence

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dianne feinstein, mental health, mental decline, cognitive health, retire, resign, return

dianne feinstein, mental health, mental decline, cognitive health, retire, resign, return

The 89-year-old senator returned to Washington last week after a ten-week absence due to a shingles infection that left her hospitalized in March.

California Senator Dianne Feinstein, fresh off her nearly three-month medical absence, seemed to forget on Tuesday that she was gone in a brief conversation with two reporters in the Senate halls.

The reporters, working for two different media outlets, corroborated the story. The pair say they saw Feinstein getting off an elevator, surrounded by staff and being pushed in the wheelchair that she has used since her return to the Senate last week.

Upon seeing one reporter, Feinstein reportedly said: “Aren’t you an eager one.”

The reporters asked how she was doing, to which the lawmaker said she was “feeling fine. I have a problem with the leg.” The reporters subsequently asked what was wrong with her leg, but she refused to answer, saying it was no one’s concern but her own.

To that point, the conversation seemed normal, if a little confrontational. But when the reporters asked what her colleagues in the Senate have said to her since she returned, the conversation took a strange turn.

“No, I haven’t been gone,” the 89-year-old senator who has missed more than 50 votes this year said. “You should follow the—I haven’t been gone. I’ve been working.”

The reporters asked if she meant that she had been working from home, but Feinstein insisted that she had been in the Capitol.

“No, I’ve been here. I’ve been voting. Please, you either know, or don’t know.”

Feinstein then declined to answer a question about recent calls for her resignation and was ushered out by her staff.

While it is possible that the aging senator was referring to the past week, when she has been back in Washington and voting on committees when needed, it seems to beggar belief that someone who remembered their monthslong absence would think the reporters were asking about the last week and not her recent, lengthy and controversial absence.

It was also noted by reporters that since her return last week, Feinstein was tough to spot in the congressional halls. One reporter pointed out that Feinstein has been sticking to the unpopulated areas of Congress and has skipped luncheons and non-urgent committee meetings.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, speaks to the press in the Senate at the US Capitol in Washington, DC on May 31, 2015 - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.04.2022

‘It’s Bad and Getting Worse’: Fellow Dems Voice Concerns Over Dianne Feinstein’s Job Performance

Multiple judicial appointments that lacked bipartisan support were delayed because of her absence; those appointments have been happening at a quick pace since her return. Feinstein sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, though she gave up her chairman position on the committee in 2021. The committee is split 11-10 in favor of Democrats and without Feinstein’s votes, Democrats had no choice but to move forward on appointments that had some Republican support while awaiting Feinstein’s return.

Concerns about Feinstein’s mental acuity have been rising in recent years. One report cited anonymous Democrat allies who expressed concern she didn’t have the mental capacity to perform her duties as a senator.

Shortly after her return, a report described the senator as rapidly deteriorating mentally while staffers do what they can to keep airs or normalcy.

Citing a former staffer and corroborating witnesses, one US outlet reported that staffers have, since at least 2019, used a system to ensure Feinstein is never left alone in the Capitol. They fear, according to the report, what she might say if a reporter talks to her unattended and keep a staffer ready at all times to accompany her whenever she leaves her office. The staffer says Feinstein is unaware of the system.

The former staffer and at least one other witness have described meetings where Feinstein would forget subjects that were discussed for minutes at a time, forcing senior staffers to reenact the conversation as if it were occurring for the first time in an effort to placate the senator.

There have been public incidents as well. In October, Feinstein announced in a written statement she would voluntarily give up the title of president pro tempore, which had put her third in line to the presidency, behind only the vice president and speaker of the House.

In this image from video, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., speaks on the Senate floor about the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.02.2023

‘Just Confusion on Timing’: Dianne Feinstein Seemed Unaware of Her Own Retirement in Press Gaggle

But when a reporter asked about it three weeks later, she claimed she was still trying to decide what to do.

Then in February, after announcing she would retire at the end of her term but remain in office, a reporter asked her about it the same day and Feinstein replied she had not made a decision. Her staff blamed the mixup on a confusion of timing. “Oh, no, I’m not announcing anything. I will one day,” Feinstein said an hour after the announcement.





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