Observers shocked by Sen. John Fetterman's shaky performance

 April 21, 2023

Pennsylvania Democratic Sen. John Fetterman presided over the Senate Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Food and Nutrition, Specialty Crops this week.

It marked the first time he has chaired a meeting since spending over a month in hospital for depression. Yet after seeing his performance, some observers are shocked that he hasn't stepped down. 

Fetterman struggled to give prepared remarks

Video footage showed the Pennsylvania Democrat noticeably struggling as he attempted to deliver his opening remarks.

Fetterman's difficulty with speaking didn't stop there, as the senator continued to struggle when he attempted to question a witness.

Columnist: Fetterman's loved ones should have told him to retire after stroke

The fact that Fetterman remained in the 2022 Pennsylvania Senate race despite suffering a debilitating stroke was condemned on Thursday by RedState columnist Nick Arama.

"The people who loved him should have pulled him from running after he had the stroke and not put his health and recovery at such risk, particularly knowing that he already had an issue with depression," Arama wrote. "But the Democrats were more interested in their political agenda than they were in Fetterman’s long-term health."

"But the Democrats were more interested in their political agenda than they were in Fetterman’s long-term health," Arama continued, adding that there are concerns over "how much the campaign might have hurt his recovery."

One possible reason why Fetterman insists on retaining his Senate seat despite obvious health challenges was laid out by Newsweek contributor Darragh Roche in an article last month.

Fetterman's resignation would cause problems for Democrats

Roche explained that if Fetterman were to step down, then whoever Pennsylvania Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro appoints to replace him will have to face the electorate in 2024.

By contrast, if Fetterman remains in office then his seat will safely stay in Democratic hands until his term expires in 2028.

Fox News noted last fall that 2024 is already expected to be a challenging year for Senate Democrats given how the party must defend seats in Ohio, Montana, and West Virginia, all of which lean heavily towards Republicans.

The situation is also complicated for Democrats in Arizona, as Sen. Kyrsten Sinema left the Democratic Party in December of 2022 and intends to seek reelection as an independent candidate.

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