John Fetterman had a stroke while on the campaign trail for a US Senate seat. His opponent was Dr. Oz. who former President Trump endorsed.
Oz’s campaign criticized Fetterman for not agreeing to a debate because his team knew he would perform poorly.
Oz’s team released a humorous statement about concessions they would make if Fetterman agreed to debate.
“We will pay for any additional medical personnel he might need to have on standby. At any point, John Fetterman can raise his hand and say, ‘Bathroom break!’”
Fetterman eventually agreed to a single debate.
Fetterman should have retired from the race but the Democrats wanted the Senate in any way possible so he stayed in and ended up winning the seat.
Fast forward to today.
A statement was released on Thursday by Fetterman’s office regarding his health. As a result of inpatient treatment for depression, he has been absent from the Senate chamber for nearly five weeks. The statement said that the Democrat is “doing well” and “expected” to return soon.
“Fetterman, 53, was weeks into his service in Washington and still recovering from the aftereffects of the stroke he had last May during his campaign when he checked himself into Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Feb. 15,” according to the Associated Press. “Aides said at the time that Fetterman had not been his usual self for weeks. He was withdrawn, showing disinterest in talking, eating, and the usual banter with aides. Post-stroke depression is common and treatable, doctors say.”
“He’ll be back soon, at least over a week, but soon,” said a spokesperson on Thursday.
“Fetterman is receiving daily in-person briefings by chief of staff Adam Jentleson, the spokesman added.
“The senator is reading the news and getting briefings, he said, while issuing statements through his office and sponsoring legislation. Aides are opening new regional offices in Pennsylvania.”
“After Fetterman checked in to Walter Reed, his office said he had experienced depression “off and on throughout his life,” but it had only become severe in recent weeks. The Capitol physician, Dr. Brian P. Monahan, recommended Fetterman’s hospitalization after conducting an evaluation, his office said then,” the AP reported.
Late in February, it was reported that Fetterman had suffered from depression “off and on” for most of his life, according to Adam Jentleson, Adam’s chief of staff who provided an update regarding his health.
“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,” according to a statement issued by Joe Calvello to The Washington Post.
“Pennsylvania Republicans have demanded that Fetterman release a video “to show us he is alive and well,” or face intervention from other lawmakers if he is “unable to do this,” according to the Conservative Brief.
Washington County Republican Party Chair Sean Logue released a statement and questioned whether Fetterman “is able to carry out his duties as Senator.”
The statement added: “We call upon Senator Fetterman to appear on camera to show us he is alive and well, and if he is unable to do so, we call upon our elected Representatives in Washington, Senator [Bob] Casey and Congressman [Guy] Reschenthaler, to intervene immediately.”
“Ultimately, if Fetterman is unable or unwilling to carry out his duties as a United States Senator, then we ask for his resignation and call for a special election this year; no more lies or games.”
An update on Fetterman was provided by CNN congressional correspondent Manu Raju last week, but many weren’t buying the rosy outlook.
“John Fetterman is making progress in his recovery from clinical depression and could leave Walter Reed within next two weeks, a person close to the senator told me. The senator’s physician recently informed him that he will be ‘as good or better than his best days post-stroke,’” he posted on Twitter.
“Fetterman’s stay has lasted this long because the doctors have been trying to get his ‘medication balance exactly right,’ per source. For instance, doctors learned his blood pressure med was too high, which may have contributed to dizziness when he went to GW hospital last month,” he continued.
Fetterman's stay has lasted this long because the doctors have been trying to get his "medication balance exactly right," per source. For instance, doctors learned his blood pressure med was too high, which may have contributed to dizziness when he went to GW hospital last month
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) March 14, 2023
In spite of this, his update was met with extreme skepticism.
“Prove it. Show video,” Tim Young, a conservative pundit, and comedian, said.
Prove it. Show video.
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) March 14, 2023
“How on earth do you project a timeframe for managing a mental health problem so bad it landed you in the hospital? That’s not exactly how mental health works, especially clinical depression. It isn’t a broken bone,” someone else commented.
“This is ridiculous. Clinical depression is not something you ‘cure’ in rehab. To be admitted for depression is not that common, let alone for this long. Someone is lying and Fetterman is not fit for office,” said Kira Davis, deputy editor of RedState.
“I had no idea the recovery from mental health issues and strokes was so simple and straightforward. The millions of people whose lives are wracked with depression and who’ve been severely disabled by strokes will be excited to hear this!” commented another.
In February, illness hospitalized California’s oldest member of Congress, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
Senator Feinstein “hopes to return to Washington soon,” one of her representatives said at the time, without providing any further information about the senator’s health.
“I was diagnosed over the February recess with a case of shingles,” A statement from Feinstein read. “I have been hospitalized and am receiving treatment in San Francisco and expect to make a full recovery. I hope to return to the Senate later this month.”
Feinstein, 89, has represented California since 1992. She is the oldest U.S. senator serving. She said she believes she will make a “full recovery.”
The hospitalization of Feinstein comes just weeks after she announced that she would not be running for re-election in 2024 as a member of Congress.