Sen. Dianne Feinstein says she has no plans to step down after Dems report rapid mental decline

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein defended herself against her Democratic colleagues and said she has no plans to step down following a report that claimed the 88-year-old’s memory has rapidly deteriorated and that she is mentally unfit to continue representing her state.

“I meet regularly with leaders,” a shocked Feinstein (D-Calif.) told San Francisco Chronicle editorial board leaders on Thursday, hours after the paper first published the bombshell report on her current mental condition.

“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.”

According to the Chronicle’s report, a Democratic senator from the state said that her mental state is “bad, and it’s getting worse.” The report also claimed that a member of California’s congressional delegation who has known Feinstein for 15 years recently had to repeatedly reintroduce themselves during an hours-long discussion.

In total, the report cited four of Feinstein’s Senate colleagues, three former staffers and a House member who expressed concern that the elderly senator’s memory has slipped significantly, forcing her to leave much of her work to her staff.

sen.  Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) walks through the Senate subway before a lunch meeting with Senate Democrats at the US Capitol on February 15, 2022 in Washington, DC.
sen. Dianne Feinstein claims she is “puzzled by” reports suggesting her mental health is weakening.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

According to The Chronicle, Feinstein had declined to be interviewed for the story, but later told the editorial board that no one has raised concerns about her mental capacity to her directly.

“No, that conversation has not happened,” Feinstein said. “The real conversation is whether I’m an effective representative for 40 million people.”

Feinstein, who was first elected to her senate seat 30 years ago in 1992, has been a prominent force in Washington. She chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee for six years and served as a ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee during the Trump administration.

sen.  Alex Padilla, D-Calif., speaks during a confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 23, 2022.
sen. Alex Padilla defended Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s daily job performance.
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
sen.  Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., listens as the Senate Judiciary Committee begins debate on Ketanji Brown Jackson's nomination for the Supreme Court, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, April 4, 2022.
sen. Dianne Feinstein has denied reports of allegedly forgetting names of staff members.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Two senators told The Chronicle that they believe Feinstein recognizes them but she is not able to recall their names or home states. Sources said she has good days as well as bad days, and occasionally appears like her old self.

The senator defended her performance in a statement shared with The Chronicle as well as The Post, saying it has been a rough few weeks since her husband, Richard Blum, passed away Feb. 27 at the age of 86 following a battle with cancer.

“The last year has been extremely painful and distracting for me, flying back and forth to visit my dying husband who passed just a few weeks ago. But there’s no question I’m still serving and delivering for the people of California, and I’ll put my record up against anyone’s.”

Senator from California Dianne Feistein (L) flanked by her husband Richard Blum is sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence (R) during the swearing-in re-enactments for recently elected senators in the Old Senate Chamber on Capitol Hill January 3, 2019.
sen. Dianne Feinstein’s husband, Richard Blum, recently passed away.
ALEX EDELMAN/AFP via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 82, was one of several members of congress who defended Feinstein following the report and claimed she had not noticed any cognitive decline in her fellow Californian.

Feinstein’s Senate colleague Alex Padilla told the paper he was familiar with the concerns about her health, but said that “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’s okay.”

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