(Headline USA) Sen. John Fetterman’s return to the Senate this week following his hospitalization for clinical depression went about as well as expected.
The Pennsylvania Democrat, who suffered a stroke on the campaign trail last year, attempted to open a hearing for the Senate Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Food and Nutrition, Specialty Crops, Organics and Research on Wednesday, but struggled to read his opening statement.
“Good lord. This dude is not remotely well or able to do this job. Embarrassing for Pennsylvania,” Outkick founder Clay Travis tweeted.
Reporter Savannah Hernandez added that she has “heard second graders with better reading abilities than this …This is just sad.”
John Fetterman has a staffer holding up his iPad as he talks to people after the hearing ended.
CSPAN cut away from that pretty quickly. pic.twitter.com/ujhOxIZuDk
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) April 19, 2023
Fetterman had been absent from the Senate since mid-February, when he was hospitalized for treatment for depression.
In a recent interview, Fetterman claimed that criticisms of his decision to run for the Senate in spite of his obvious cognitive challenges were the reason he fell into a depression.
One insult he heard on multiple occasions still appears painful for him to repeat: being called a “vegetable.”
“These kinds of personal things accelerated the depression,” he said, referring specifically to comments in which he was compared to a “vegetable.” Fetterman also admitted that his disastrous debate against Republican Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz caused a “seismic” shift in his mental health.
“I’ll never forget the date. It was October 25,” Fetterman said. “I knew going into this debate that millions of people were going to be watching. And it wasn’t even just for Pennsylvanians watching, this would be kind of national … [it] would be living in history. But I was still in recovery from the stroke. It would be trying to run a marathon with a broken ankle.”
Democrats have been unwilling to criticize Fetterman. And even Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., this week came to Fetterman’s defense.
“I say: Lay off Fetterman’s health and talk about policy…There’s lots of material that doesn’t attack someone’s misfortune,” Paul tweeted.
Funny wins over stupid. Great response from the senator from PA.
I say: Lay off Fetterman’s health and talk about policy…There’s lots of material that doesn’t attack someone’s misfortune. https://t.co/YJTq1IGWJg
— Rand Paul (@RandPaul) April 19, 2023