“It’s bad, and it’s getting worse,” a Democrat senator, who wished to remain anonymous, told the San Francisco Chronicle.
Four U.S. senators, including three Democrats, as well as three of Feinstein’s staffers, confirmed that Feinstein’s memory is rapidly deteriorating and that she depends on her staff to do her job for her.
During one recent interaction, for example, a California Democrat met with Feinstein, 88, to discuss policy matters, but the lawmaker ended up having to reintroduce themselves to Feinstein multiple times.
“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. All of that is gone,” the lawmaker said.
The lawmaker argued that Democrats must begin demanding that Feinstein retire.
“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,” the lawmaker said.
Feinstein has not said whether she plans to retire, but she did dismiss criticism about her mental acuity, saying in a March 28 statement that she still performs her job well.
“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,” she said. “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.”
Several other Democratic lawmakers have defended Feinstein as well, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who is nearly as old as Feinstein.
“Senator Feinstein is a workhorse for the people of California and a respected leader among her colleagues in the Senate,” Pelosi said in a statement.
“She is constantly traveling between California and the Capitol, working relentlessly to ensure Californians’ needs are met and voices are heard.”