Letters to the Editor: Senators’ health issues are a concern, but Biden and Trump aren’t slowing down

A man pushing a woman in a wheelchair in a hallway.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) at the Hart Senate Office Building in May.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Jackie Calmes rightly calls for concern about the health issues of Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) as evidenced by observable behavior in recent days.

However, it seems disingenuous to conflate their performance due to failing health with the performance of President Biden and Donald Trump, neither of whom has displayed comparable cause for concern. In the case of Trump, his bombast, battering and irrational ramblings are not due to his age. We have witnessed this behavior for many years. Nonetheless, his supporters continue their allegiance. For them, telling the truth and clarity of mind are not criteria for a presidential candidate.

Biden has been an exemplar of having clarity of purpose in taking positions and acting for the common good and justice for all.


When there is evidence that failing health has prevented elderly political leaders from performing the duties of office, then it will be time for an appropriate exit.

Lenore Navarro Dowling, Los Angeles

To the editor: Calmes laid out the best reason these two very senior politicians should call it a day and retire. They’re both physically unwell. Feinstein was clearly confused when asked for her vote on the defense bill. And McConnell seemed to be unable to recover from the shock of uttering the sentence he spoke right before he froze. “This week, there’s been good bipartisan cooperation.” Although, I have to say, I froze when I heard it myself.

Marley Sims, Valley Village

To the editor: Yes, the all-too-apparent infirmities of Feinstein and McConnell give us concern about their health and fitness to serve.

In fact, former president and leading Republican presidential candidate Trump has suggested that Biden undergo a cognitive fitness test.

Fortunately, senators are not airline pilots, where a momentary lapse in flight can lead to disaster, and they are supported by younger, competent staffs and their kinder colleagues who can assist them when problems occur.

Much more important than a politician’s physical or cognitive fitness is the individual’s moral fitness.


Thirty years ago, regarding Bill Clinton’s marital infidelities, Republicans claimed that character matters and the truth matters. They even impeached Clinton because he lied about an extramarital relationship.

They were right then, albeit not about impeaching a president for lying under oath about a sexual indiscretion, and they are still right today. Biden may trip over a sandbag, but he doesn’t trip over his own lies like Trump does.

Daniel Fink, Beverly Hills

To the editor: It is not surprising that America has become a gerontocracy given the seemingly illogical Supreme Court ruling that corporations have equal rights as people in campaign contributions. We all know that, perhaps with rare exceptions, our health and mental agility do decline toward the end of our lives, as clearly demonstrated by former President Reagan, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg as well as Feinstein and McConnell, and possibly Biden.

Our founding fathers likely had not placed a mandatory retirement age for our officeholders in the Constitution because they had not envisioned the emergence of a class of political professionals who would try to cling to power at all cost, even to the detriment of our country. The saying that “age is just a number” certainly does not apply to the majority of people in their 80s, who are truthful to themselves. Yet until most voters come to the realization that our political system has been highly corrupted by campaign dollars, the system will continue to favor the incumbents.

There is a saying that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is insanity. Since 71% of Americans in a recent poll consider our country heading in the wrong direction, what does this say about us on our choices in the next election? I have intentionally omitted Trump as an example of gerontocracy since he is entirely in a class by himself.

John T. Chiu, Newport Beach

To the editor: Biden has done as much or more in three short years than many younger presidents accomplished in their eight years. Voters may be concerned about his age, but they should be more focused on what has been accomplished and what will be accomplished in the coming years. Age, while a concern, affects each person differently. Biden seems to be right there on the issues. Our American society has a tendency to discard older people and their experience. That’s a mistake.


Harry Schwarz, Agoura Hills