How can we know for sure what’s going on with politicians who are ill?

February 9 – Since United States Senator John Fetterman was admitted to the George Washington University Hospital last night, a lot of people are wondering what will happen next? 

The Senator released an announcement yesterday saying he felt light headed during the Senate Democratic Retreat and staff took him to the hospital, where he was being monitored overnight. Initial tests didn’t show evidence of another stroke. 

Fetterman had suffered a stroke days before the PA Primary in May 2022. 

Some people are questioning what’s really going on here?

Attorney Clint Barkdoll noted, “We hope and pray that he is okay, but the problem with this situation with him is he and his camp have very little credibility when it comes to reporting to the public what his true situation is. Last May days before the primary, he had a very severe stroke. They didn’t reveal it for days. When they did reveal it, they acted like this was very minor, he was fine, no big deal.” 

Fetterman campaigned very little before the November midterms and it turns out his condition was a bit more serious than initially reported. 

His first appearance in a debate with the Republican nominee for the Senate seat, Mehmet Oz, showed he had some physical problems, particularly with his speech patterns. 

Barkdoll said, “I hope and pray he’s okay, but when they immediately came out last night and said this is not a stroke, he’s up and talking to people, he’s in good spirits. Really that’s all we know. We take them at their word. That’s the press release that they’ve issued, but based on that history we’ve seen of the past eight, nine months, I hope there’s not something more going on here that we’re going to learn about later. He has kept an extremely low profile since being elected in November. I’m not aware of any interviews he’s done.” 

Fetterman was at the State of the Union address Tuesday night. 

Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM said, “We’re praying for his recovery, but let’s be honest here. Do we know exactly what was happening?” 

PA Representative Rob Kauffman said, “We have no idea what happened, what his status was at any given time. They tell us what they want us to know. Everybody hides behind HIPAA, although he’s now a public official. Honestly, I wouldn’t trust anything that’s coming out of the camp at this point. We don’t know his condition. We certainly wish him well and pray for his recovery, but it’s definitely concerning.” 

If Fetterman would have to resign and can’t perform his duties, Governor Josh Shapiro would appoint a replacement and it would be the governor’s sole discretion who he chooses. 

Shapiro could also appoint himself. 

Kauffman said, “I think the question in that is we all know the governor has aspirations. I think it’s the least secretive thing in Harrisburg is everybody knows he wants to go somewhere else. So the question is what suits his political aspirations better? To be one of 100 Senators or to be the chief executive of one of the top 10 states in the nation?” 

Meanwhile when Fetterman is in his office, he has all sorts of mechanisms to assist him. 

Ryan pointed out, “Of course the taxpayers are on the hook for whatever technology they have to know put on the Senate floor and also in his office for him to understand. The amount of money I would love to know how much. I think John and his campaign coffers should pay for that. I don’t think the American people should have to pay for whatever technology it takes for him to understand things. I don’t know what that tab is, but I know that’s new technology.” 

Apparently it’s closed captioning, both hardware and software – much like he used in the debate. 

Barkdoll noted, “This gets into a kind of an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) issue that if it’s deemed a reasonable accommodation, the employer, in this case the US Senate, would be required to install those kind of things. Now that wouldn’t apply everywhere. If you’re a small employer and you say this is an economic hardship where I just don’t have the ability to do it, that actually could be a defense. I don’t think they’ve clearly revealed what has been installed to accommodate him.”