Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman is unable to speak fluidly two months after suffering a near-fatal stroke that cut off oxygen to his brain, according to the Washington Post.
The report is the latest indication that the Pennsylvania lieutenant governor’s stroke was far more serious than he let on. The progressive Democrat has been off the trail since he was admitted to the hospital on May 13. Fetterman said days after the stroke that he was on the way to a "full recovery" and that he would be back to campaigning "sometime soon." But medical experts who reviewed Fetterman’s symptoms and treatment—which included the installation of a pacemaker and defibrillator—said the stroke nearly killed him. One doctor said Fetterman was at risk of "sudden cardiac death."
Democratic Party officials are reportedly "very nervous" that Fetterman’s health status will prove a liability in November, when he will face Republican nominee Mehmet Oz. Some Pennsylvania Democrats have gone as far as exploring options to remove Fetterman from the ballot should he be unable to resume campaigning.
But Fetterman’s camp now says he will be back on the trail in the coming weeks, according to the Post. In lieu of traditional campaigning, Fetterman has appeared for virtual fundraisers and speeches. Fetterman held a Zoom call last month with President Joe Biden, whose health problems have stoked similar concerns in the Democratic Party.
Fetterman has attacked Oz online, deploying a series of snarky memes against the celebrity heart doctor. His campaign has also paid for banners to fly along the Jersey Shore, accusing Oz of being a resident of New Jersey instead of Pennsylvania.
The seaside destination is familiar territory for Fetterman, who vacationed there with his family earlier this month. The Washington Free Beacon reported Fetterman took a taxpayer-funded security detail to the shore in June 2020, while pushing strict coronavirus lockdowns and school closures.