U.S. Sen. John Fetterman’s office told Fox News this week that during classified briefings, the Pennsylvania Democrat has received special accommodations for his auditory processing issues.
The admission came after Fox News pressed his office about whether he uses his phone’s text-to-speech capabilities during said briefings.
Fox News was inspired to ask the question as per reports that “have noted that Fetterman aides in the Capitol use mobile devices with text-to-speech functions to assist the senator with his auditory processing difficulties.”
When pressed, Fetterman spokesperson Joe Calvello refused to offer a simple yes/no answer and instead said that “Fetterman requested assistance from the Office of Senate Security for an appropriate accommodation in a classified setting.”
“Senate Security, in coordination with the Intelligence Community, identified a solution that exceeded all requirements for safeguarding classified information,” he added.
So to summarize, Fetterman asked for special accommodations, and then the powers that be worked together to identify the best solution. Why is this relevant? Because mobile phones aren’t usually allowed in classified briefings.
“There have already been several classified briefings in Congress this year that have taken place in sensitive compartmented information facilities (SCIFs) or other locations that have similar security constraints,” Fox News notes.
“Electronic devices — such as phones and mobile devices — are not allowed in these locations due to security concerns. It is unclear if Fetterman’s accommodation includes the use of an electronic device,” according to Fox News.
Recall the outrage that erupted when Rep. Matt Gaetz’s staffers brought a mobile phone with them into a SCIF four years ago:
Rep. Matt Gaetz just tweeted from inside the House Intelligence Committee’s SCIF, which is supposed to be a classified briefing room. https://t.co/84vRwJAJxa
— Zach Basu (@zacharybasu) October 23, 2019
After tweeting from their official accounts that they were inside the SCIF, Gaetz and multiple other GOP congressman have clarified that their staff are the ones tweeting.
— Zach Basu (@zacharybasu) October 23, 2019
But evidently, exceptions have been made for Fetterman, a stroke survivor who hasn’t fully recovered yet from the stroke he suffered last May.
In fact, it’s not clear that he’s recovered at all. Indeed, earlier this very month he was readmitted to the hospital on account of fears that he’d just suffered another stroke. Luckily for him, that turned out not to be the case after all.
“Senator John Fetterman, the Pennsylvania Democrat who suffered a near-fatal stroke before winning his seat last year, spent a second night in the hospital on Thursday as doctors ruled out another stroke but monitored him for signs of seizure, his spokesman said,” The New York Times reported on Feb. 9th.
“Mr. Fetterman, 53, was admitted to the hospital on Wednesday after feeling lightheaded while attending a Democratic Senate retreat in Washington. After an M.R.I. and other tests, doctors ruled out another stroke, the spokesman said. As of Thursday night, there had also been no signs of seizure,” the Times added.
Fetterman discharged from hospital after 2-day stay, no signs of seizure or stroke https://t.co/j37BRmMUaT pic.twitter.com/e6MbvStl4N
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) February 12, 2023
Fetterman has since returned to the hospital, but this time for clinical depression.
“Last night, Senator John Fetterman checked himself into Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to receive treatment for clinical depression. While John has experienced depression on and off throughout his life, it only became severe in recent weeks,” Fetterman’s chief of staff, Adam Jentleson, said in a statement Thursday.
The statement went on to add that the senator was evaluated by the Attending Physician of the Congress, Dr. Brian P. Monahan, on Monday, and that at that time Monahan “recommended inpatient care at Walter Reed.” Fetterman complied with the recommendation and is now “receiving treatment on a voluntary basis.”
“After examining John, the doctors at Walter Reed told us that John is getting the care he needs, and will soon be back to himself,” the statement concluded.
Critics say that perhaps a stroke survivor with clinical depression and auditory processing issues so severe that he needs special accommodations shouldn’t be a member of Congress.
He was never fit in the first place they just wanted a D to win. They give 2 cents less about him
— Tim (@Timberrysr2) February 16, 2023
I mean, depression itself isn’t reason to be unfit, but compound it with the stroke and everything else, yeah
— Fractured Mentality (@FractMentality) February 17, 2023
Best wishes and prayers for John, if he is unable to return to work in a reasonable amount of time, he should resign. The people elected him, and deserve representation.
— Charles Greer (@Charles900756) February 17, 2023
I hope he’s okay and gets well. I’m not from Pennsylvania and have no stake in his political career. I also hope the someone looks into the doctor that gave him a full release. It’s obvious now he was in no shape to be doing what he’s trying to do.
— Monkey OverLord (@Monkey_O_L) February 16, 2023
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