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Sen. John Fetterman became emotional during a committee hearing and began tearing up as he addressed criticism and mockery that he has faced over his disabilities.
Fetterman, 54, spoke in front of other guests with disabilities at the US Senate Special Committee on Aging on Thursday.
The democrat from Pennsylvania went on a three minute rant about his ‘inability to fully process language’ relating to his auditory disabilities stemming from a stroke he had prior to securing the Democratic nomination last year.
‘Because I live in a political environment, I was ridiculed and made fun of because I wasn’t able to process things at times,’ he said as began to tear up in front of the panel.
He began to tear up as he presented an app that allows him to ‘fully participate in this meeting’ and communicate with members of his family.
Sen. John Fetterman became emotional during a committee hearing and began tearing up as he addressed criticism and mockery that he has faced over his disabilities
This comes amid controversy over his choice of casual attire over a classic suit and tie, which has made the senator a target of republicans and even some critics who express concern over whether Fetterman has the cognitive capacity to dress himself
‘I’m so sorry, I’m sure many of you had to go through this kind of thing,’ Fetterman added. ‘I admire everyone who has to live with these kind of struggles and prevail over them.’
He concluded his speech by posing a question to the audience: ‘How can we become more empathetic, more responsive, and more effective senators?’
The stroke affected his ability to articulate coherent sentences and partake in press conferences and subsequent debates against his Republican rival, Dr. Mehmet Oz.
This comes amid controversy over his choice of casual attire over a classic suit and tie, which has made the senator a target of republicans and even some critics who express concern over whether Fetterman has the cognitive capacity to dress himself.
Fetterman mocked republicans who have mocked and attacked him over his choice of clothing.
He laughed off the blame he’s taking for the new Senate dress code, chuckling over Republicans ‘losing their minds’ about the matter.
The democrat from Pennsylvania went on a three minute rant about his ‘inability to fully process language’ relating to his auditory disabilities stemming from a stroke he had prior to securing the Democratic nomination last year
He began to tear up as he presented an app that allows him to ‘fully participate in this meeting’ and communicate with members of his family
‘I don’t know why the right side seems to be losing their minds over it,’ the Democratic senator from Pennsylvania told Fox News.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer decided to no longer enforce an official ‘business’ dress code for members of the Senate, which many saw as a concession to Fetterman, who is often seen wearing shorts and a hoodie.
‘I think it’s a good thing, but I’m going to use it sparingly,’ Fetterman said. ‘I hope other colleagues take advantage of it too.’
Many were outraged with his bold defiance of the common custom in which senators dress professionally when showing up to work at the US Senate.
Marjorie Taylor Greene slammed Fetterman social media: ‘The Senate no longer enforcing a dress code for Senators to appease Fetterman is disgraceful.
‘Dress code is one of society’s standards that set etiquette and respect for our institutions. Stop lowering the bar!’
Fetterman told CNN, jokingly, the criticism was ‘devastating.’
‘It’s mystifying. I mean, there’s certain much more important kinds of issues we should be addressing. Instead of like, how if I dress like a bum,’ he said.
Fetterman, who won the Pennsylvania Senate seat last year, giving Democrats a 51-49 majority in the upper chamber, has unapologetically been wearing shorts as he goes about his duties.
The senator has faced a number of health challenges, including being in hospital for lightheadedness and clinical depression earlier this year. He is still said to suffer auditory processing issues stemming from a stroke he experienced in May 2022.
In recent months, there have been calls for other politicians who are seemingly suffering from medical condition to step down.
In August, democrat demanded term limits after Mitch McConnell froze, again.
The 81-year-old Senate minority leader didn’t respond for 30 seconds when he suddenly stopped speaking in the middle of a press event in Kentucky.
It mirrored a similar episode that occurred in July at a press conference in the Capitol and comes just months after McConnell suffered a concussion and broken rib when he tripped and hit his head at the D.C. Waldorf Astoria and was admitted to hospital for treatment.
That followed 90-year-old Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s string of health scares.
‘For goodness sake, the family, friends, and staff of Senators Feinstein and McConnell are doing them and our country a tremendous disservice,’ Democratic Rep. Dean Phillips wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
‘It’s time for term limits for Congress and the Supreme Court, and some basic human decency.’
Feinstein was hospitalized earlier in August following a trip and fall at her home in San Francisco.
She was released after tests showed she was fine, but the latest health incident raised more questions about her ability to carry out her duties as a senator.
Her many absences since the start of the year have hampered the majority Democrats’ ability to move nominations through the Judiciary Committee.