John Fetterman Returns to Work in Gym Shorts After Two-Month Hiatus

Senator John Fetterman (D-PA) returned to Capitol Hill on Monday after a two-month stint at Walter Reed military hospital, where he was treated for severe clinical depression. It was his first appearance on the Hill since his hospitalization in early February, less than six weeks into his term. Fetterman did not answer reporters’ questions as he was spotted entering the Capitol in his usual shorts and hoodie. He has given no answer on whether he plans to serve out his entire six-year term.

Fetterman had reportedly been released from Walter Reed at the end of March but remained home for the Senate’s two-week Spring Break. He first checked into the hospital on February 10 after suffering from lightheadedness at a Democrat retreat. Days later, he again checked himself in, citing severe depression.

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“It’s great to be back,” Fetterman told reporters as he waved to a crowd of spectators. Commentators quickly pointed out that the senator was not exactly dressed for a job on Capitol Hill.

“Can someone tell the people of Pennsylvania that it’s ok to elect someone who is not only mentally capable of serving the country, but also dresses as if they actually respect the office of US Senator,” comedian Tim Young wrote on Twitter.

“John Fetterman, sitting United States Senator, dresses like a 10 year old shooting hoops. Is it any wonder we are the laughing stock of the world?”

Fetterman cast his first in-person vote since returning on Monday after missing 60 during his stay at Walter Reed. His ability to effectively serve in the Senate has been an open question since May 2022, when he suffered a near-fatal stroke in the days leading up to the Democrat primary.

The health scare left him with auditory processing issues, which were evident during his widely-publicized debate with Republican candidate Mehmet Oz in October. After Fetterman defeated Oz to succeed Sen. Pat Toomey, the Senate chamber was fitted with closed captioning equipment to assist him. Shortly before his hospitalization, the New York Times reported that Fetterman was having trouble understanding his colleagues’ voices, which became more difficult during periods of stress.

Fetterman has been open about battling depression on and off throughout his life, which significantly worsened due to his stroke. According to his office, his symptoms became severe after he arrived in Washington D.C. to begin his term. Since then, he has spoken at length about his difficulties, at one point telling CBS anchor Jane Pauley that he was “indifferent” to the idea of life and death.

“I had stopped leaving my bed. I had stopped eating. I was dropping weight. I had stopped engaging some of the, most things that I love in my life…

I never had any self-harm, but I was indifferent, though. If the doctor said, ‘Gee, you have 18 months to live,’ I’d be like, ‘Yeah. Okay, well, that’s how things go.'”

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