An advisor to Democratic Pennsylvania Senator-elect John Fetterman admonished reporters Tuesday for the method in which they asked Fetterman questions.
“He is still recovering from a stroke and has lingering auditory processing challenges. The way Hill reporters are used to yelling questions at Senators will not work here,” wrote Rebecca Katz, a political strategist and advisor to Fetterman, on Twitter.
Her tweet was in response to another by a Huffington Post reporter, Igor Bobic, who noted that Fetterman did not acknowledge his presence as he was shouting a question at him.
Two things we need to get out of the way:
1) John Fetterman has a suit and will wear it to the Capitol.
2) He is still recovering from a stroke and has lingering auditory processing challenges. The way Hill reporters are used to yelling questions at Senators will not work here. https://t.co/0UCe47d9QC
— Rebecca Katz (@RebeccaKKatz) November 15, 2022
Katz’s remarks were criticized by reporters. “John Fetterman is not deaf. He does not wear hearing aides…are we to understand he cannot understand words being spoken to him?” wrote Stephen L. Miller, an editor at The Spectator, while the Independent’s Andrew Feinberg suggested “we use cue cards, ‘Love Actually’ style.”
John Fetterman is not deaf. He does not wear hearing aides. This is kind of the thing. They keep changing his condition to avoid answering medical questions about the condition he actually has. This is because he has not released his own medical records https://t.co/Vq6mMsi4c2
— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) November 16, 2022
Katz’s comments come amidst lingering questions over Fetterman’s health and fitness to serve in the Senate. Fetterman suffered a stroke on May 13, after he won the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic primary, and was hospitalized for nearly four months before resuming campaigning in August.
Attacks on Fetterman’s health by Republicans became a primary strategy on the campaign trail. Republican candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz held a joint event with retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania on Sept. 30 calling for Fetterman to release his medical records in full, which he had declined to do.
These issues came to a head in the debate between Oz and Fetterman on Oct. 25, where Fetterman was visibly unable to respond to questions from the moderators and Oz, in an appearance widely criticized by Democrats. Polls after the debate showed Oz consistently leading Fetterman.
Fetterman later defeated Oz in the general election on Nov. 8. Mail-in ballots for the race, however, had begun being shipped to voters on Sept. 19, or 50 days before Election Day, per Pennsylvania law.
Fetterman’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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