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John Fetterman blames Republicans for his mental health problems

 May 5, 2023

Senator John Fetterman (D-Pa.) attributed his fight with depression to the intense 2022 campaign against Dr. Mehmet Oz, resulting in his declining mental health and eventual hospitalization for treatment.

Formerly Pennsylvania's lieutenant governor, Fetterman admitted himself to a military hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, in February for depression treatment following a health scare.

“It was after the brutality of the campaign,” Fetterman told in a recent interview with KDKA-TV, commenting on the emergence of his depression. “Some people believe that it was one of the most vicious political campaigns.”

Despite the health challenges the senator maintains, he is fully capable of serving in Congress as he recovers.

Struggles with Health

Fetterman was elected shortly after suffering a stroke in 2021, which affected his audio comprehension. He admitted to using real-time transcription programs to ensure he fully understood the questions being asked of him.

Following his senatorial victory, Fetterman acknowledged that he was not the person he used to be.

He said, “I wasn’t the kind of senator Pennsylvania deserved. I wasn’t being the kind of husband Gisele deserved, I wasn’t being the kind of father my children deserved.”  This realization led him to seek treatment for his depression.

Upon his return to Washington, D.C., Fetterman stated that he felt "fantastic" and that his depression was in remission.

Calls for Resignation and Criticism

Critics, particularly Republicans in Pennsylvania, have strongly questioned Fetterman's fitness to serve in the Senate following his stroke and subsequent hospital stay for depression. They argue that he has been unable to fulfill his duties as a senator and should resign or be replaced.

Fetterman's opponent, a celebrity heart surgeon, Dr. Mehmet Oz, also expressed concerns about his fitness for office.

During an appearance on Fox Business Network's Maria Bartiromo show, Oz suggested that voters deserved better representation.

Fetterman's Response

Fetterman claimed that the attacks on him during the 2022 Senate campaign contributed to his decline and led to his hospital stay. He described the campaign as "brutal" and "vicious."

OpenSecrets reported that outside groups aired $84 million in attack ads against Fetterman in his campaign against Republican Dr. Oz.

When asked about his ability to serve in Congress, Fetterman told KDKA-TV, "Hell, yes, and that's why I'm doing it."

He continued, "Just the way any Pennsylvanian is working is you take it a day at a time and work hard, and that's exactly what I've been doing here."

Fetterman's Recovery and Return to Work

Fetterman checked into Walter Reed Medical one month after taking office to be treated for clinical depression.

He was discharged from the hospital at the end of March and returned to work at the Capitol when Congress returned from a two-week recess in April.