John Fetterman Should Be More Transparent About His Health


Greg Nash / Nexstar Media Group

John Fetterman participated in the Pennsylvania Senate race debate on Oct. 25.

Chad Woerner, Staff Writer

Anyone who watched last week’s Pennsylvania Senate race debate would have been hard-pressed not to hear Democratic nominee John Fetterman stumble through words and struggle to finish sentences as the questions rolled on. 

This is not the first time that Fetterman, who underwent a serious stroke almost 6 months ago, has shown signs of executive functioning issues. 

Some neurologists have pointed out that among stroke survivors, the lack of ability to pronounce words correctly or the failure to remember certain terms is not acutally an accurate display of one’s complete cognitive ability. Acording to Fetterman’s doctors, even though he is still recovering with his linguistic abilities while speaking, his intellect itself has likely not diminished, only his ability to process it.

While the majority of stroke recovery tends to happen in the months immediately following the event, full healing can still take as many as 2 full years or even longer. Given Fetterman’s recent public appearances which show that he is still suffering from the effects of that stroke, the hope for Democrats that his situation will continue to significantly improve is very much up in the air. 

Oral communication is critical to the daily job of a senator. From floor speeches to phone calls to even brief conversations with staffers, it should be entirely sensible why voters would be concerned whether Fetterman can effectively fulfill the duties of a senator while struggling with basic verbalization. While many senators have been able to serve with a disability, few have had the issues that Fetterman is currently having. 

Yet, voices from the other side of the aisle have often mocked Fetterman’s condition, and in doing so only polarize the race further instead of adressing the core of the issue, which is the lack of transparency from Fetterman’s team about his condition. In an interview with Hugh Hewitt after the debate, Republican National Comitee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel joked about whether Fetterman would be able to finish a sentence. Tucker Carlson asked whether a suspicious lump on the back of Fetterman’s neck has an Instagram profile. It is not clear to what extent the lump is related to the stroke, but it has been another point of susciption about Fetterman’s well being that has yet to be answered. 

Fetterman’s team of doctors have tried to continue the impression that the stroke has only had minor impacts on the Lietanentut Governor. Just days after the stroke, a statement from his office read that “the doctors tell me I didn’t suffer any cognitive damage.” While that may be largely true in the sense that Fetterman has not lost any concrete knowledge, his recent stumbles are requisite for susciption that he has suffered much more cognitive decline than his campaign would like to acknowledge. Given the importance of his job and the people potentially electing him to office, his doctors should be as forthright as possible and not cover up his true condition in order to play politics. 

As House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said last Thursday, “even those Democrats on CNN were embarrassed of who their nominee was and the capability of carrying out the job. This is a big job in the Senate.”