Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)’s physical and mental impairments are increasingly upsetting members of her own party who want the 89-year-old to resign immediately.
According to The New York Times, the California Democrat only manages to carry out her responsibilities with the assistance of a large number of aides who orchestrate her every move and are there to explain to the lawmaker what’s happening when she becomes confused.
In addition to complications from shingles, the Democrat is also suffering from Ramsay Hunt syndrome. But her memory issues are particularly concerning.
Feinstein apparently becomes confused about how the Senate operates at times. In one instance last year, she did not understand why Vice President Kamala Harris was casting the tie-breaking vote.
All senators rely heavily on staff. But for years, Ms. Feinstein’s memory problems have meant that she has needed far more support than other senators. Briefing her on the news of the day requires longer sessions and more background information.
At times she has expressed confusion about the basics of how the Senate functions. When Vice President Kamala Harris was presiding over the chamber last year in one of many instances in which she was called upon to cast a tiebreaking vote, Ms. Feinstein expressed confusion, according to a person who witnessed the scene, asking her colleagues, “What is she doing here?” Staff members have been overheard explaining to her that she cannot leave yet because there are more votes to come. (The New York Times)
Feinstein’s staff, many of whom have been with her for years, are able to keep the ship running by referencing her decades of policy positions. The senator’s insistence on running an organized and efficient office has helped, as well. But still, even her staff members have been pressured by some on the left to resign, with one “journalist” from The Intercept naming and shaming them recently in an effort to bring down Feinstein.
Her aides insist they have candid conversations with the Democrat about her future and continue presenting a press folder to her that’s now loaded with clippings about her failing health, opinion pieces calling on her to resign, and polls showing most voters in The Golden State want her to resign.
Feinstein is adamant, however, that she can do the job until her term ends in 2025.