If reports of California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s cognitive decline are true, then she should step down, according to the San Francisco Chronicle’s editorial board.
“If Feinstein is mentally unfit, Democrats need to tell her openly. And she should resign,” read the headline of the Friday editorial.
Rumors have been circulating for years that the now-88-year-old Feinstein, the mayor of San Francisco-turned-long-serving California senator, is not as sharp as she used to be. An article last week in the Chronicle indicated that those rumors might be more than just hearsay.
The article cited multiple instances of Feinstein apparently forgetting things that a U.S. senator would generally be expected to know.
For example, one unnamed Democratic member of Congress recalled a recent interaction where they had to keep telling Feinstein who they were — even though the two had known each other for years.
“Four U.S. senators, including three Democrats, as well as three former Feinstein staffers and the California Democratic member of Congress told The Chronicle in recent interviews that her memory is rapidly deteriorating. They said it appears she can no longer fulfill her job duties without her staff doing much of the work required to represent the nearly 40 million people of California,” the outlet said.
“Some close to her said that on her most difficult days, she does not seem to fully recognize even longtime colleagues,” the Chronicle added.
Feinstein, for her part, has denied any cognitive decline.
“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,” she said in a statement to Fox News.
The Chronicle editorial board made it clear that Feinstein was “lucid and responsive” in her interview with the board, and that “moments of clarity still reign.”
“And yet it remains impossible not to be troubled,” the board wrote. “Memory loss typically does not grow better with time, and the nation is facing a proxy war with Russia in Ukraine, a stalled Biden agenda on climate change and the failure to pass voting protections in the wake of the Jan. 6 insurrection.”
Citing reports of Democrats making jokes about the senator, the editorial added: “If Feinstein’s mental fitness has indeed deteriorated to the point where it’s an open secret that she’s incapable of doing her job, Democrats need to forgo the jokes and say so openly.”
“Feinstein deserves to end her career with dignity under her own terms. But denial is a hallmark of those suffering from memory loss and attendant illnesses. And if indeed the situation is so dire, then this is no time for ceremonial courtesy.”