Fetterman Raises Questions After Penning Letter, Sponsoring Legislation From Hospital Bed


OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

Democrat Pennsylvania Sen. John Fetterman allegedly signed a letter to the company whose train derailed in Ohio, Norfolk Southern, from the hospital where he is recovering from clinical depression and it raised some eyebrows on Twitter.

In the letter, Sen. Fetterman joined other lawmakers in asking for the company to take care of nearby Darlington Township.

“Norfolk Southern’s policy of only reimbursing the residents of the roughly 130+ dwellings that were officially evacuated ignores the reality of the situation for residents across Beaver and Lawrence Counties. Families across these counties, not just those officially evacuated, saw a toxic plume and acted to protect their families at a time of considerable uncertainty. Similarly, local officials took action to keep them and their families safe. Their decisions were justified, as is their ongoing concern for their health and well-being. They should not be denied assistance because Norfolk Southern, a multi-billion-dollar corporation, insists on adhering to rigid, unrealistic boundaries that do not reflect the lived reality of the derailment or the impact of the derailment,” Senators Fetterman, Bob Casey, and Rep. Chris Deluzio said.

“We know that, at the request of East Palestine officials, Norfolk Southern granted eligibility for these reimbursements and payments at the Family Assistance Center to all residents of Ohio zip code 44413. Despite repeated requests from Beaver County officials to do the same for zip codes 16115, 16120, and 16141 in Pennsylvania, Norfolk Southern has refused to act. Norfolk Southern has a legal and moral responsibility to all communities impacted by the derailment, regardless of state lines,” the lawmakers said.

“We look forward to seeing all residents of these three Pennsylvania zip codes given eligibility as soon as possible and expect your response within 48 hours. Please share that response with our offices via Senator Casey’s staff,” they said.

Many on Twitter wondered how Sen. Fetterman was able to serve his constituents from his hospital bed.

“Is there a single journalist within the border of the continental United States going to ask the question of how John Fetterman co-authored a letter in the united states Senate while under direct medical observation at Walter Reed for self-admitted fear of harm and depression?” Stephen Miller said.


“So he just did this? He co-authored this letter. While under observation for suicide and depression at Walter Reed and 10 days after several days of hospitalization?” he said.

“John Fetterman was able to co-sponsor a bill while currently missing in action in the hospital… what a miracle, or something,” Tim Young said.

He also co-sponsored a bill, the “Railway Safety Act of 2023,” on Wednesday that would “take key steps to improve rail safety protocols, such as enhancing safety procedures for trains carrying hazardous materials.”

“Nobody has heard from or seen John Fetterman for over two weeks and now he’s apparently ‘co-sponsoring’ Senate bills…. Can somebody explain this to me???” another Twitter user said.

“Can you really believe John Fetterman co-authored a letter about Norfolk Southern’s policies while under medical observation at Walter Reed for self admitted fear of harm and depression? Makes no sense,” another said.


“How is John Fetterman doing things when he’s currently isolated in a psych ward?” Alana Mastrangelo said.

“Does anyone else find it odd that John Fetterman is hospitalized with Clinical Depression and is Co-Sponsoring Bills in the Senate? Wouldn’t being hospitalized for Depression mean you shouldn’t be doing legislative work?” Jason Robertson said.

According to Adam Jentleson, the senator’s chief of staff who provided an update in February about his boss’s condition, Fetterman has suffered from depression “off and on” throughout his life.

“We don’t have a lot to update folks with since there’s no real news to report except that John is doing well, working with the wonderful doctors, and remains on a path to recovery,” Joe Calvello said in a statement, according to The Washington Post.

“He is visiting with staff and family daily, and his staff are keeping him updated on Senate business and news,” he said. “We understand the intense interest in John’s status and especially appreciate the flood of well-wishes.”

“However, as we have said this will be a weeks-long process and while we will be sure to keep folks updated as it progresses, this is all there is to give by way of an update,” he noted further, adding that the office continues to work as normal on the senator’s business.

“Our team is moving full speed ahead and working tirelessly for the people of Pennsylvania,” Calvello said. “Just last week we opened a new office in Erie and will be opening several more offices in the coming weeks.”

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