California Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s illness is worse than previously known, according to a report in The New York Times. The report, which cites unnamed sources, says that Feinstein has been diagnosed with cognitive decline and that her condition is affecting her ability to serve in the Senate.
Feinstein, 89, is said to be suffering from vision and balance impairments as well as facial paralysis, also known as Ramsay Hunt syndrome. This happened when her shingles spread to her face and neck, according to sources disclosed to The New York Times. These sources also said the senator developed encephalitis, which causes swelling of the brain that can lead to complications such as memory loss, language problems, confusion, and mood disorders.
Some close to the senator said watching her continue to serve in the Senate in her current state was “frightening,” the report added.
The report said Feinstein’s office refused to comment other than to share a statement from a general statement.
“I’m back in Washington, voting and attending committee meetings while I recover from complications related to a shingles diagnosis. I continue to work and get results for California,” Feinstein said.
When the media pressed on her condition, Feinstein demanded that it “really has never been diagnosed,” according to CNN’s Manu Raju. “It was a really bad flu,” she also reportedly said. “I’m doing better, thank you.”
But Raju added that a source familiar with the situation “confirms” that The New York Times story is true.
Feinstein is the oldest member of the Senate and the oldest woman ever to serve in Congress. She was first elected to the Senate in 1992.
The Times report says that Feinstein’s condition has been a source of concern for her colleagues for some time. In recent months, she has been seen forgetting names and misplacing items. She has also been known to make gaffes during public appearances.
In a statement, Feinstein’s office said that the senator “is still able to serve her constituents effectively” and that she is “fully engaged in her work.” However, the statement did not address the specific allegations in the Times report.
The Democrats are heartless. I actually feel bad for Dianne Feinstein. https://t.co/Vwn0HdQYiP
— Shawn Farash ❌🐻 (@Shawn_Farash) May 18, 2023