Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has returned to the Senate after a health hiatus, but her aides are continuing to tell her how and when to vote, shield her from the press and public, and explain to her what is going on when she gets confused, The New York Times reported.
Feinstein, 89, is being propped up by aides and even shielded from the media by Capitol Police and the Senate sergeant-at-arms, according to the Los Angeles Times.
"All senators rely heavily on staff to do the job, particularly a senator who represents 40 million people," chief of staff James Sauls told the N.Y. Times. "While staff advise her, she ultimately is the one who makes the decision about how to best take action for the people of California."
But even Democratic operatives are concerned about the lengths of management by aides.
"They have a responsibility to give her brutally honest counsel and then adhere to her wishes, as she — and not they — were elected," David Axelrod, a former President Barack Obama adviser, told the N.Y. Times. "And they have an obligation to help her meet her own responsibilities to her state and the office."
Feinstein has had encephalitis in addition to her widely reported shingles health issue, according to the N.Y. Times.
"Encephalitis is inflammation of the active tissues of the brain caused by an infection or an autoimmune response," according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. "The inflammation causes the brain to swell, which can lead to headache, stiff neck, sensitivity to light, mental confusion, and seizures."
Feinstein denied having encephalitis, telling a CNN reporter she had only a "bad flu," but her spokesman Adam Russell corrected the record, saying she had encephalitis that "resolved itself" in addition to Ramsay Hunt syndrome, which can cause facial paralysis.
Feinstein is back in Washington, but she has missed six votes and not attended any committee hearings or caucus lunches, according to the N.Y. Times.
Her management level might not comport with her past remarks, according to the N.Y. Times.
"You can't let staff run you," she told her biographer Jerry Roberts in the 1990s, according to the report. "The person in charge has to be the guiding post."
Eric Mack ✉
Eric Mack has been a writer and editor at Newsmax since 2016. He is a 1998 Syracuse University journalism graduate and a New York Press Association award-winning writer.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.