OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Rep. Lauren Boebert castigated Sen. John Fetterman for his attire during a Thursday press conference, where he showed up wearing a trademark hoodie and shorts.
“John Fetterman redefined Casual Friday on a Thursday morning. It’s truly unbecoming for someone to show up like that to any job, let alone a job that only 100 people are elected to do. There’s just no excuse for it,” she tweeted.
The press conference was a Democrat response to negotiations between Republicans and the Biden White House over the debt ceiling.
“President Biden needs to consider using the 14th Amendment if necessary,” Fetterman said, according to video of the event. “We’re playing with the livelihood of millions just so the GOP can turn the screws against…hungry Americans.”
John Fetterman WOWS the crowd on the Red Carpet in a New Hoodie Before Congressional Press Conference.. pic.twitter.com/d5AIn01LQB
— Rob/1865 (@Rob1865_) May 19, 2023
Fetterman set off a firestorm of criticism last month when he returned to the Senate after a months-long treatment session for clinical depression following a major stroke in 2022. The Pennsylvania Democrat showed up in a black hoodie and shorts.
The senator declined to answer any questions from the press as he entered the Capitol, which was one of the few visits since assuming office in January, Fox News reported.
“It’s great to be back. Thank you,” he repeatedly said as he walked into the building.
Democrat Senator John Fetterman refuses to take questions as he returns to the Capitol for the first time since mid-February pic.twitter.com/JyTRQ1sIKe
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) April 17, 2023
Several conservatives responded to Fetterman’s arrival and appearance.
“Welcome back to John Fetterman, further proof that cognition, speech comprehension, emotional balance, and even showing up for work are no longer necessary for a career in Democrat politics!” Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk noted.
“How could anyone take the calls for @SenFeinstein to step down seriously when the DEMs spend more than a year excusing the deteriorating health of @JohnFetterman? If you supported Fetterman running for Senate or didn’t raise concerns about his health, please take several seats,” Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) added.
The following day, his office issued a statement confirming that Fetterman was set to preside over his inaugural hearing later in the week. The statement also criticized Republicans for their efforts to enforce stricter work requirements for individuals receiving food stamp benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
“Cut SNAP for families and kids while pushing tax cuts for billionaires?” the brief statement began. “Not on my watch.”
Fetterman’s brain injury following a near-fatal stroke in May 2022 has likely left him with permanent damage, according to his chief of staff.
In February, his office announced that he had left the hospital after a two-day stay after the Pennsylvania Democrat suffered an episode of dizziness.
“A few minutes ago, Senator Fetterman was discharged from the hospital. In addition to the CT, CTA, and MRI tests ruling out a stroke, his EEG test results came back normal, with no evidence of seizures. John is looking forward to returning to the Senate on Monday,” his spokesman Joe Calvello said on Twitter.
As the 53-year-old senator began day three in the hospital for what his team called “lightheadedness,” The New York Times said that some of those close to Fetterman are concerned about his health. Not long afterward, he checked into the Walter Reed Medical Center on the advice of the congressional physician to undergo treatment for clinical depression.
“In his first interview since leaving Walter Reed National Military Medical Center,” the Western Journal noted at the time, “Fetterman’s inability to keep his eyes forward is an indication that he’s constantly reading from a captioning screen, translating interviewer Jane Pauley’s questions and possibly even cueing him on his own answers.”
It wasn’t clear that Fetterman was reading from anything, but he certainly appeared to be averting his gaze toward his right side as if to be looking at something.
Six weeks after entering Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for inpatient treatment for depression, Sen. @JohnFetterman shares his struggle with depression, his health, and more in an intimate interview with Jane Pauley this "Sunday Morning." pic.twitter.com/3o2926I48B
— CBS Sunday Morning 🌞 (@CBSSunday) March 31, 2023