Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) is in the hospital again. A week after the New York Times reported that Fetterman has been struggling to adapt to his new life in the Senate, he has now checked himself into Walter Reed Hospital to receive treatment for clinical depression.
“While John has experienced depression off and on throughout his life, it only became severe in recent weeks,” Fetterman’s chief of staff, Adam Jentleson, said in a statement.
This comes shortly after Fetterman was released from George Washington University Hospital after experiencing lightheadedness during the Senate Democrats’ retreat, and it raises new questions about Fetterman’s cognitive and mental health — and sadly points to the unfortunate truth that everyone in his inner circle failed him for the sake of the election.
Last year during the midterm elections, John Fetterman’s incoherence was undeniable and showed no signs of improving. His few campaign appearances were kept brief, but each time he spoke in public, a new video surfaced raising legitimate questions about his mental health and, thus, his ability to perform the duties of the office he seeks to obtain. Even the New York Times begrudgingly acknowledged that Fetterman had communication problems.
And then there was his disastrous debate performance, which showed the public just how unwell he was and sent the polls swinging in the direction of his opponent, Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz. Had Fetterman not banked so many votes in early voting, it’s conceivable that Oz would have won the election.
So, armed with a doctor’s note from a Democrat donor insisting he was in good health and a wife who went ballistic at the mere questioning of his fitness to serve, Fetterman and his campaign insisted we not believe what was painfully obvious: that the man running for the Senate was cognitively impaired and should have stepped down and let another candidate take his place. We knew what was going on, but no one close to him put his health before his political ambitions, and I find that both disturbing and sad.
It seems very likely that Fetterman’s inability to adapt to serving in the Senate is the reason for his current struggle with depression. According to the New York Times, Fetterman’s “adjustment to serving in the Senate has been made vastly more difficult by the strains of his recovery, which left him with a physical impairment and serious mental health challenges that have rendered the transition extraordinarily challenging — even with the accommodations that have been made to help him adapt.”
The same report revealed that Fetterman was frustrated that he may have “set himself back permanently” by campaigning instead of resting after his stroke last May. “[Fetterman] has had to come to terms with the fact that he may have set himself back permanently by not taking the recommended amount of rest during the campaign. And he continues to push himself in ways that people close to him worry are detrimental.”
No wonder he’s depressed.
It didn’t have to be this way, Fetterman, his wife, and his doctor clearly had to know he wasn’t at a point in his recovery where he was physically and mentally capable of serving in the Senate.
So now what? Fetterman obviously can’t accept the limitations he has because of the brain damage he suffered from his stroke, and none of the accommodations being made for him have succeeded in making him capable of the job. How much longer can this go on before even he realizes he has to focus on his recovery, not the Senate?