Senator Dianne Feinstein has died at the age of 90, shortly after her return to Congress following a bout of shingles, according to Punchbowl News‘ Jake Sherman.
BREAKING NEWS: DIANNE FEINSTEIN HAS PASSED AWAY AT 90
PUNCHBOWL NEWS TEXT OUT A FEW MIN AGO
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) September 29, 2023
Feinstein returned to the Senate in May after a two-month battle with shingles, where she appeared to be unaware of her own extended absence. When a reporter asked him how her colleagues have received her upon her return, she said, “No, I’ve been here. I’ve been voting.” She concluded by scolding the reporter.
For the good of her health, her dignity, the Senate, the Democratic Party and our democracy, it’s past time now for Senator Feinstein’s family and caretakers to convene and immediately end this ghastly, degrading spectacle that borders on elder abuse.pic.twitter.com/d0ABJvbVX4
— Fernand R. Amandi (@AmandiOnAir) May 18, 2023
Several have noted how the ailing Feinstein cast a “yes” vote yesterday.
Will be interesting to see how she votes today. https://t.co/PpdvLcem5M
— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) September 29, 2023
In July, Feinstein appeared to be completely lost during a Senate Appropriations Committee session which required staff assistance.
When called on for a simple “aye” or “nay” vote, the 90-year-old launched into a speech supporting the measure. Only after 15 seconds of awkwardness did she heed repeated commands to “just say aye” — instructions issued by both committee chair Patty Murray and one of Feinstein’s staffers.
ABC NEWS: It was a “concerning moment” today when Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein had to be verbally instructed — both by a staffer and a fellow senator — how to vote during a committee hearing pic.twitter.com/ovPdJ1miyf
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) July 27, 2023
For more than a year, Feinstein’s mental decline has been chronicled by even the most liberal newspapers. Last year, the Times and San Francisco Chronicle published insider accounts of Feinstein being unable to remember names, meetings and phone conversations. The Times described her as sometimes “walk[ing] around in a state of befuddlement.”
Upon her return, Capitol Hill observers noticed that Nancy Pelosi’s daughter was escorting Feinstein all around the Capitol. The motive is likely more than charitable: Rep. Adam Schiff, a Pelosi ally, wants Feinstein’s seat and desperately wanted her to hang on through the 2024 election.
That’s because California Governor Gavin Newsom has already promised that, in the event of an early Feinstein departure, he would appoint a black woman. One of Schiff’s declared opponents is Rep. Barbara Lee. If appointed, she’d enter the 2024 race with the power of incumbency.