Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office admits 89-year-old DID suffer brain infection, despite denial
Ailing Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office has admitted the 89-year-old did suffer a brain infection, despite her own insistence that she’d just been battling the flu.
The New York Times reported on Thursday that Dianne Feinstein, 89, has been diagnosed with vision and balance impairments and facial paralysis known as Ramsay Hunt syndrome and the brain infection encephalitis.
Initially, Feinstein denied it, saying it was a really bad flu. I’m doing better, thank you.
However, the senator’s own office went against her and confirmed it to CNN later Thursday.
After confirming that her diagnosis included Ramsay Hunt syndrome and encephalitis, a spokesperson said: ‘While the encephalitis resolved itself shortly after she was released from the hospital in March, she continues to have complications from Ramsay Hunt syndrome.’
Ailing Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office has admitted the 89-year-old did suffer a brain infection, despite her own insistence that she’d just been battling the flu
Ramsay Hunt syndrome is a known complication from shingles, which Feinstein had been recovering from, leaving the Democrats one vote short in the Senate.
The virus also brought on a previously unreported case of encephalitis that leaves patients with lasting memory or language problems, sleep disorders, bouts of confusion, mood disorders, headaches and difficulty walking.
Feinstein, a Democrat representing California since 1992, was set to step down when her sixth and final term ends next year.
The lawmaker is also known to be suffering from vision and balance problems, and aides often take her around the Senate building in a wheelchair.
She had faced growing calls to resign during her months-long absence, notably from fellow California Democrats and the New York Times editorial board.
But her cognitive abilities and health have been under question for months after she missed a series of key Senate votes.
She has also appeared confused in public, sometimes shouting at aides as she struggles to keep up with votes in the upper chamber.
Her return to work earlier this month also restored the Democrats’ 51-49 majority in the Senate, boosting the chances of Dem-backed bills to get rubber stamped.
Feinstein, a Democrat representing California since 1992, had been set to stand down when her sixth and final term ends next year.
‘My doctors have advised me to work a lighter schedule as I return to the Senate,’ Feinstein said last month. ‘I’m hopeful those issues will subside as I continue to recover.’
She sparked confusion during her first appearance in the Senate in close to three months by claiming she has been there the whole time.
‘No, I’ve been here. I’ve been voting,’ the 89-year-old told reporters when they asked how she was feeling and what her colleagues thought of her return. Please. You either know or don’t know,’ she added bizarrely.
She then made her return to the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday, arriving nearly 90 minutes late and after some judicial nominees had already been voted on.
She received a standing ovation from Republicans and Democrats alike on the panel when she joined them after being gone due to health issues.
She is being aided around the US upper house of Congress by the daughter of former speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Nancy Corinne Prowda, 58, has been spotted by the side of Dianne Feinstein, 89, who has just returned from a 10-week sick leave due to shingles.
The marketing executive has appeared with the retiring senator after the departure of several trusted aides, amid questions about her fitness for office.
Feinstein, seen earlier on Thursday, has been flanked by Nancy Pelosi’s daughter in recent weeks. She is already set to retire next year
When asked last week what it felt like to be back in the Senate after her three-month battle with shingles, Feinstein bizarrely said that she has been there the entire time.
A spokeswoman for Feinstein said Prowda was not drawing a salary for her role. Feinstein’s office did not respond to a separate request regarding the senator’s health diagnosis.
Politico reported on Thursday that the Pelosi family is helping to take care of the long-serving lawmaker to boost the chances of Nancy Pelosi’s preferred successor.
The outlet’s Playbook newsletter said that ensuring Feinstein sees out her full term will help Adam Schiff, currently a member of Congress, to win the seat.
Schiff, who as chair of the House Intelligence Committee probed the now-debunked conspiracy theory that Donald Trump colluded with Russia, has already raised $15 million for a possible election race.
But California Governor Gavin Newsom has vowed to appoint a woman of color if Feinstein retires early.
That would leave the door open for Barbara Lee, a Congresswoman representing California, to take up the seat for the rest of the current term.
California has a jungle primary, meaning the top two winners, regardless of party, move forward to the general election.
That would see the heavily-Democratic state with two Democrats running in the November 2024 election.
Pelosi, seen here at a protest for more affordable child care, is backing Adam Schiff to take over from Dianne Feinstein in the Senate
Schiff has already raised more than $15 million and is ahead of his nearest rival, Katie Porter, in the polls.
Pelosi’s office angrily denied the claims, insisting their friendship is ‘personal, not political.’
‘Nancy Corinne and Senator Feinstein have been friends for decades. Nancy Corinne has been supporting her in her shingles’ recovery,’ the spokesperson said.
Feinstein, a longtime ally of the former speaker of the House of Representatives, has been a senator for the Golden State since 1992 and is the oldest senator in the chamber.
She has gradually stepped back from several senior positions in recent years.
In 2020, she said she would not serve as the top Democrat on the judiciary panel after criticism from liberals about her handling of Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation.
Fiercely independent, she also famously clashed with the Obama administration over her refusal to keep intelligence reports secret about the use of torture by the US military.