Pennsylvania Democratic Sen. John Fetterman made headlines earlier this month when he went to George Washington University Hospital after feeling lightheaded.
However, Fetterman again sought medical care on Thursday, checking himself into Walter Reed National Military Medical Center where he is expected to stay for a period of weeks.
Aides say Fetterman has had difficulty functioning
According to the New York Post, Fetterman is getting treatment for depression, something members of his staff talked to NBC News correspondent Dasha Burns about.
A senior aide says it’s been difficult to distinguish the stroke from the depression – saying it’s hard to tell at times if Fetterman is “not hearing you, or is he sort of crippled by his depression and social anxiety.”
— Dasha Burns (@DashaBurns) February 17, 2023
“A senior aide tells me both the staff and Fetterman himself were taken by surprise by the severe onset of depression,” Burns said in a tweet.
Words of encouragement for Fetterman quickly appeared on social media, including from New York Democratic Rep. Ritchie Torres, who recalled his own struggle with depression.
Bipartisan support for Fetterman
I admire Senator John Fetterman for openly seeking treatment for depression at Walter Reed.
Back in 2010, I was hospitalized for depression. I would not be alive, let alone in Congress, were it not for mental health care.
Millions of Americans are rooting for you, Senator.
— Ritchie Torres (@RitchieTorres) February 16, 2023
President Joe Biden spoke up as well, tweeting that he and the first lady were keeping Fetterman and his family in their thoughts.
“John, Gisele – Jill and I are thinking about your family today. Millions of people struggle with depression every day, often in private. Getting the care you need is brave and important. We’re grateful to you for leading by example,” the president said on Friday.
Expressions of support were not limited to Democrats, as Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz said he hopes that Fetterman “gets the care he needs.”
Senator’s wife says she is “proud” of her husband
Gisele Barreto Fetterman is the senator’s wife, and she put out a statement saying she was “proud” of her husband “for asking for help and getting the care he needs.”
After what he’s been through in the past year, there’s probably no one who wanted to talk about his own health less than John. I’m so proud of him for asking for help and getting the care he needs. pic.twitter.com/SfuwWTSUcG
— Gisele Barreto Fetterman (@giselefetterman) February 16, 2023
Fetterman’s health has been an issue since he suffered a stroke last May, something which led critics to question whether he would be fit to serve in the Senate.
Fox News noted that Fetterman at times struggled to remain coherent during his October debate with Republican challenger Mehmet Oz.