Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) appears to be suffering from a mental health crisis after the 89-year-old seemed to forget that she had announced she would be retiring after her term concludes in 2024.
Feinstein told a group of reports at the Capitol on Tuesday that she had not made a decision on if she would retire or not. This was just hours after she had confirmed she would be retiring after three decades in the U.S. Senate.
Feinstein was so out of it that a staffer had to step in and remind her that she had indeed announced that she would be retiring.
The 89-year-old Senator told reporters “If I haven’t made that decision, I haven’t released anything.” When reminded by her staffer, Feinstein then said, “I didn’t know they put it out.”
Either there is a massive communication gap between Feinstein and her team, or Feinstein’s mental faculties are slipping drastically.
Long overdue retirement
Senator Feinstein has been the poster child for term limits in Congress. She has been in the Senate since 1992 and her career in politics stretches back over the past half-century.
Over the past half-century, Senator Feinstein has become one of the wealthiest members of Congress.
Her net worth is valued at $58.5 million with a massive $13 million increase last year. Feinstein’s husband, investment banker Richard Blum, was one of the wealthiest spouses of a Congressional member before his passing in February 2022.
Her retirement is long overdue and the value she brought to the American people in her political career is dubious at best. Even with her impending retirement, her finances have never looked better.
What has looked healthier is her mental capabilities and physical health. The nearly nonagenarian has reportedly been unable to track complex conversations and has even repeatedly introduced herself in the middle of discussions.
An anonymous lawmaker told the San Francisco Chronicle that “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. 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.”
Journalist Rebecca Traister recently did a profile of Feinstein and had a similar experience to the anonymous lawmaker who talked to the SF Chronicle.
Traister said, “It felt to me to be deeply disconnected from the very urgent and chilling realities that we are very much in the midst of.”
There is no doubt that Feinstein’s health is failing her and she should have retired long ago. Feinstein’s situation is a great reminder that the topic of Congressional term limits needs to be revisited.