OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
CNN congressional correspondent Manu Raju has provided an update on the mental health of Pennsylvania Democratic Sen. John Fetterman, but many people were skeptical about the report.
Fetterman from Pennsylvania suffered a stroke in May 2021, shortly before winning the Democratic primary by a significant margin. The severity of his stroke became apparent during the general election when the state’s then-lieutenant governor had difficulty with basic communication. This was especially evident during a debate with his opponent, Dr. Mehmet Oz, who former President Trump backed. Even with the help of closed-captioning technology, Fetterman struggled to convey his thoughts, as noted by the Western Journal.
Fetterman managed to win a close election in November, flipping a previously Republican-held seat to the Democrats, but has since struggled with carrying out his duties. He has spent most of his two months in the Senate hospitalized, which may leave some voters feeling regretful. In the previous month, Fetterman was admitted to a hospital after experiencing dizziness, and a few days later, he was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after showing symptoms of clinical depression.
Since then, he has remained out of the public eye, and there have been no updates on his condition until Wednesday, when Raju posted to Twitter.
“John Fetterman is making progress in his recovery from clinical depression and could leave Walter Reed within next two weeks, a person close to the senator told me. The senator’s physician recently informed him that he will be ‘as good or better than his best days post-stroke,’” he tweeted.
“Fetterman’s stay has lasted this long because the doctors have been trying to get his ‘medication balance exactly right,’ per source. For instance, doctors learned his blood pressure med was too high, which may have contributed to dizziness when he went to GW hospital last month,” he added.
Fetterman's stay has lasted this long because the doctors have been trying to get his "medication balance exactly right," per source. For instance, doctors learned his blood pressure med was too high, which may have contributed to dizziness when he went to GW hospital last month
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) March 14, 2023
But Raju’s claims were met with a healthy dose of skepticism and doubt from several social media users.
“Prove it. Show video,” comedian and conservative commentator Tim Young noted in response.
“How on earth do you project a timeframe for managing a mental health problem so bad it landed you in the hospital? That’s not exactly how mental health works, especially clinical depression. It isn’t a broken bone,” another user wrote.
“This is ridiculous. Clinical depression is not something you ‘cure’ in rehab. To be admitted for depression is not that common, let alone for this long. Someone is lying and Fetterman is not fit for office,” RedState deputy editor Kira Davis responded.
“I had no idea the recovery from mental health issues and strokes was so simple and straightforward. The millions of people whose lives are wracked with depression and who’ve been severely disabled by strokes will be excited to hear this!” added another.
Earlier this week, Pennsylvania Republicans demanded that Fetterman release a video “to show us he is alive and well” or face intervention from other lawmakers if he is “unable to do this.”
“If Fetterman resigns, it would trigger a special election, giving the GOP a chance to increase its Senate representation to 50. This would make the Democrats reliant on Senator Kyrsten Sinema (who became an independent in December but still caucuses with the party) and on the vice president’s casting vote to maintain overall control,” Newsweek reported.
New pictures were released last weekend of Fetterman with his family as he continues his treatment.
“We can do hard things when we do them together so proud of João, the kids, and everyone who’s shared their own struggles with us in the past few weeks. It gets better,” Gisele Fetterman, his wife, tweeted.
We can do hard things when we do them together ❤️ so proud of João, the kids, and everyone who’s shared their own struggles with us in the past few weeks. It gets better. pic.twitter.com/LqZW9LojDH
— Gisele Barreto Fetterman (@giselefetterman) March 10, 2023
Last month, Washington County Republican Party Chair Sean Logue released a statement and questioned whether Fetterman “is able to carry out his duties as Senator.”
The statement continued: “We call upon Senator Fetterman to appear on camera to show us he is alive and well, and if he is unable to do so, we call upon our elected Representatives in Washington, Senator [Bob] Casey and Congressman [Guy] Reschenthaler, to intervene immediately.
“Ultimately, if Fetterman is unable or unwilling to carry out his duties as a United States Senator, then we ask for his resignation and call for a special election this year; no more lies or games.”