OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Pennsylvania Democrat John Fetterman was released from Walter Reed Medical Center on Friday following weeks-long treatment for clinical depression after checking himself into the facility earlier this year on the recommendation of the congressional physician.
Fetterman’s office issued a press release stating that he is in remission after receiving treatment for depression and is currently located in Braddock, Pennsylvania, Fox News reported.
“I am so happy to be home. I’m excited to be the father and husband I want to be, and the senator Pennsylvania deserves. Pennsylvanians have always had my back, and I will always have theirs,” Fetterman said, per the release.
“I am extremely grateful to the incredible team at Walter Reed. The care they provided changed my life. I will have more to say about this soon, but for now I want everyone to know that depression is treatable, and treatment works. This isn’t about politics — right now there are people who are suffering with depression in red counties and blue counties. If you need help, please get help,” he added.
According to Fox News, “Fetterman has missed 53 of the 64 Senate roll call votes during February and March as a result of being hospitalized.”
A report on Wednesday claimed that Fetterman is slated to return to the chamber next month after the Pennsylvania Democrat finishes his treatment for clinical depression, which doctors attributed to a stroke he suffered in May 2022.
POLITICO noted that “Fetterman plans to return to the Senate the week of April 17 after more than a month of inpatient treatment for depression, according to two people with direct knowledge of his plan.”
Fetterman was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in mid-February for treatment. His return will likely be a relief for Senate Democrats, who hold a narrow majority and have faced challenges managing absences over the past month, the outlet reported.
While the exact date of Fetterman’s release from the hospital is unclear, a source close to him has confirmed that he will resume his Senate duties after the upcoming two-week April recess. Fetterman is among several senators who have been absent from the Senate recently, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who have both missed substantial amounts of time. McConnell was recently discharged from physical therapy for a concussion and minor rib fracture, POLITICO noted.
“But Fetterman’s situation has been different. The six-foot-eight, bald-headed and tattooed freshman has been open about his mental health challenges and the need to seek help,” the outlet continued.
Earlier this week, another photo of Fetterman went viral as he continued his treatment. Fetterman was finally seen in public roughly five weeks after he was admitted to Walter Reed Medical Center.
Fetterman’s release from the hospital on Friday was accompanied by photos shared by his staff. However, one particular photo that circulated on social media raised doubts about the senator’s condition, with Newsweek reporting that some people were floating a “body double” conspiracy.
“The image, provided by the Fetterman campaign, can be seen in an article published on the website of NPR station WESA on the same day. It shows Fetterman and his wife, Gisele Barreto Fetterman, posing and smiling as they leave the hospital,” Newsweek noted, adding:
The photo of the supposedly “fake” Fetterman being taken last year raises questions about the timeline of the conspiracy. The conspiracy theorists do not appear to be claiming that anything is awry with photos of Fetterman taken before or after May 22, 2022.
For the theory to be true, the supposed “replacement” Fetterman would have briefly appeared in May of last year, only to be replaced by the actual Fetterman after the photo was taken. It is unclear what purpose that would serve.
Nevertheless, Juanita Broaddrick, who has accused former President Bill Clinton of sexual assault, opined on Twitter: “I think a DNA sample is in order, here. LOL. That’s not Fetterman on the right.”
I think a DNA sample is in order, here. LOL. That’s not Fetterman on the right. pic.twitter.com/FpcS2FLK0m
— Juanita Broaddrick (@atensnut) March 24, 2023
Author Brigitte Gabriel noted as well:
“I’m not one to push conspiracy theories, but John Fetterman’s face looks totally different.”
I'm not one to push conspiracy theories, but John Fetterman's face looks totally different. pic.twitter.com/vQspwIOY0m
— Brigitte Gabriel (@ACTBrigitte) March 24, 2023
“They literally replaced Fetterman, this is insane,” Attorney Jason Roberge offered.