Sen. John Fetterman appeared hard at work in pictures posted to Twitter Monday by his chief of staff — the first glimpse the public has gotten of the Pennsylvania Democrat since he was hospitalized for clinical depression last month.
“Productive morning with Senator Fetterman at Walter Reed discussing the rail safety legislation, Farm Bill and other Senate business,” the politician’s top aide, Adam Jentleson, captioned the images of the ailing 53-year-old politician.
“John is well on his way to recovery and wanted me to say how grateful he is for all the well wishes. He’s laser focused on PA & will be back soon,” Jentleson added.
Fetterman spokesman Joe Calvello said last week that the senator was “on a path to recovery” but that it would still “be a weeks-long process.” He did not respond to a request for comment Monday.
“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,” the communications director tweeted at the time. “John is visiting with staff and family daily, and his staff are keeping him updated on Senate business and news.”
Fetterman’s office announced Feb. 16 that the former Pennsylvania lieutenant governor, who suffered a stroke in May of last year, had checked himself into the hospital after an examination by Capitol attending physician Brian Monahan, who “recommended inpatient care.”
Last week, Fetterman sponsored three Senate bills, prompting at least one doctor to remark on the “very unusual” approach to mental health treatment.
“If you broke your ankle, you know, nobody would think twice. Okay, he’s got surgery on his ankle and he’s recovering, but he’s performing from the bed,” Dr. Marc Siegel told Fox News Digital. “But mental illness, by definition, is an impairment of mood and judgment. So it would be highly, highly unlikely that somebody could do that, unless they’re just keeping them there to kind of keep them out of the way of the stress of daily living, but they feel that he’s up to the job.”
Fetterman’s stroke left him physically weak and with a reduced ability to process language. The formerly hefty pol slimmed down in the months leading up to the election and largely stayed out of the public eye, with the exception of a disastrous debate performance against celebrity doctor and GOP candidate Mehmet Oz.
Gisele Fetterman, the senator’s wife, lashed out at an NBC reporter who noted the senator had difficulty making conversation without the aid of a captioning device, slamming the journalist as “ableist.”
Jentleson revealed at the time of Fetterman’s hospitalization that the senator “has experienced depression off and on throughout his life” but “it only became severe in recent weeks.”
The Pennsylvania senator was also hospitalized on Feb. 8 after feeling lightheaded during a Democratic Party retreat, but was released two days later.
Under Pennsylvania law, Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro must appoint a replacement for Fetterman if he is unable to serve his full six-year term.
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