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Democrat Dianne Feinstein rejects mental unfitness concerns, refuses resignation

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, an 88-year-old California Democrat, indicated that she’s not going anywhere, after a report from the San Francisco Chronicle that raised fresh concerns about her mental fitness.

MUST SEE VIDEO by ABC7: “Feinstein’s declining health: SF Chronicle’s Washington correspondent Tal Kopan talks about her report as some Democrats claim the 88-year-old is showing clear signs of cognitive decline, including forgetting who she is meeting with and repeating the same information multiple times throughout a conversation.

“I meet regularly with leaders. I’m not isolated. I see people. My attendance is good. I put in the hours. We represent a huge state. And so I’m rather puzzled by all of this,” she told the Chronicle’s editorial board.

But on the other side, four of her Senate colleagues, including three Democrats, said they believe the senator’s memory is rapidly deteriorating, according to the Chronicle, per report.

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One anonymous House Democrat from California also said that they had to reintroduce themselves to Feinstein several times during a recent hours-long policy discussion, prompting that member to begin raising concerns to fellow colleagues and see if Feinstein could be convinced to resign.

“It shouldn’t end this way for her. She deserves better. “Those who think that they are serving her or honoring her by sweeping all of this under the rug are doing her an enormous disservice,” the California Democrat told the Chronicle.

Feinstein actually admitted that she did not recognize her colleague, but she blamed the lapse on stress caused by the prolonged illness of her late husband, Richard Blum, who died in February.

“I’ve had a rough year. A cancer death doesn’t come fast. And this is the second husband I’ve lost to cancer,” Feinstein said.

“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,” a fellow lawmaker said.

“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,” added the lawmaker.

A Democratic senator anonymously said: “It’s bad, and it’s getting worse.”

One staffer working for a California Democrat said: “There’s a joke on the Hill, we’ve got a great junior senator in Alex Padilla and an experienced staff in Feinstein’s office.”