Schumer declines to comment on Feinstein’s fitness for office

Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters Tuesday that he has had many conversations with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) but declined to comment on, or vouch for, her fitness to serve in Congress after colleagues raised questions about her memory with the San Francisco Chronicle.  

Schumer did not push back on the Chronicle’s reporting that Feinstein suffers severe memory lapses but said that none of his Senate colleagues have raised concerns about her ability to effectively serve directly with him.  

Asked Tuesday if he’s confident in Feinstein’s ability to do her job, Schumer said, “I’ve had a good number of discussions with Sen. Feinstein, but I’m keeping them to myself.”  

The Chronicle, Feinstein’s hometown paper, reported earlier this month that Senate colleagues worry the 88-year-old lawmaker is mentally unfit for office, citing anonymous sources.  

The article also noted that Feinstein appeared composed when she asked questions of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson during her Senate confirmation hearings in March.  

Feinstein defended her ability to represent her 40 million constituents in a public statement earlier this month.  

“I remain committed to do what I said I would when I was re-elected in 2018: fight for Californians, especially on the economy and the key issues for California of water and fire,” she said. “While I have focused for much of the past year on my husband’s health and ultimate passing, I have remained committed to achieving results and I’d put my record up against anyone’s.”  

Feinstein was in line to take over as chairwoman of the Senate Judiciary Committee but stepped down from the top Democratic post on the panel in November after Democratic colleagues privately raised questions about her ability to do the job aggressively enough.  

Democrats were still in the minority at the time and didn’t secure control of the upper chamber until picking up two Senate seats in the Georgia runoff election in January 2021. 

Tags Charles Schumer Charles Schumer Dianne Feinstein Dianne Feinstein San Francisco Chronicle Schumer

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