Fetterman Says He Was 'Not the Kind of Senator' Pennsylvania Deserved

Sen. John Fetterman (D., Pa.) chairs a Senate agriculture subcommittee / Getty Images
April 21, 2023

Pennsylvania senator John Fetterman (D.) said this week that he was "not the kind of senator" that Pennsylvania deserved while dealing with severe depression.

Fetterman told NPR in an interview that during his treatment for depression, he could not fulfill his obligations as a senator and father.

"When I was in the throes of depression, if I was being 100 percent honest, I was not the kind of senator that was deserved by Pennsylvanians," Fetterman said. "I wasn't the kind of partner that I owe to my wife, Gisele, or to my children, Karl, Grace, and August."

Fetterman returned to the Senate Monday after two months of treatment at Walter Reed Medical Center for clinical depression.

"I dropped 25 pounds. And sometimes I would say things, incoherent things, and I would become kind of just [disoriented], and getting lost walking around in Washington," the senator told NPR.

Fetterman’s reaction on his return to the Senate was "a big smile," he said. "I’ve really missed being here."

Upon rejoining Congress, Fetterman struggled to deliver his opening statement at a Wednesday hearing, mispronouncing words, including the name of Sen. John Boozman (R., Ark.).

Fetterman suffered a stroke during his Senate campaign in May 2022 but returned to the campaign trail in August, reassuring the public that he was "feeling great, better than I have in years." The senator cited a doctor’s note stating that he could "campaign and serve in the U.S. Senate without a problem."