Dianne Feinstein's mental decline an 'open secret' in Washington: report
By Shealah Craighead - https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/photos-of-the-week-030318/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=81474083

On Tuesday, SFGate highlighted new details in a New York Times report that the mental health decline of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) is an "open secret" on Capitol Hill, including the struggles lawmakers and staffers face in helping her navigate daily tasks.

"In the New York Times article, lawmakers and aides said Feinstein 'sometimes struggles to recall the names of colleagues, frequently has little recollection of meetings or telephone conversations, and at times walks around in a state of befuddlement,'" noted Alec Regimbal. "One Democratic lawmaker, who had an extended encounter with Feinstein in February, told the outlet that, 'the experience was akin to acting as a caregiver for a person in need of constant assistance.' They said they had to reintroduce themselves to Feinstein several times, repeatedly help her find her purse, and answer the same set of small-talk questions 'over and over again.'"

Feinstein, 88, denies any cognitive decline. "In a statement provided to both the New York Times and SFGATE, Feinstein said her achievements in office should reassure voters that she’s fit to continue serving California."

The new information comes after a previous report that several of Feinstein's colleagues are fearful that her memory is "rapidly deteriorating".

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"The New York Times piece also revealed that Feinstein’s late husband, financier Richard C. Blum — who passed away in February — did not think his wife needed to leave the Senate, going so far as to say she could seek reelection in 2024," noted Regimbal. "When he was asked about Feinstein’s ability to continue serving, the article said, he would shrug them off."

In 2020, Feinstein stepped down as ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee amid backlash over her failure to properly interrogate then-Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett during hearings. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) assumed the chairmanship after Democrats won a majority in the Senate.

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