- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 16, 2022

It appears the special dispensation John Fetterman received from journalists after his stroke on the campaign trail is expected to continue when he takes office.

Rebecca Katz, an advisor for the Pennsylvania Democrat, laid out some ground rules Tuesday when responding to a tweet from a HuffPost reporter who Mr. Fetterman stiffed in the halls of the Capitol building.

“Two things we need to get out of the way: John Fetterman has a suit and will wear it to the Capitol. 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,” she tweeted.

A correspondent for the San Francisco Chronicle followed up by asking “Would it be helpful to have [questions] written down and allow him to read? Or is he not going to take hallway [questions] while he recovers?”

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Ms. Katz did not respond to the tweet.

Mr. Fetterman has struggled with processing language and speaking cogently following his stroke this past spring. It became a top campaign issue when he struggled to verbalize answers during the only debate against Republican Mehmet Oz. Ultimately, voters accepted Mr. Fetterman‘s lingering impairment from his nearly-fatal stroke.

NBC News aired an interview with the then-candidate last month where Mr. Fetterman was provided with a closed-captioning device that would translate the reporter’s questions into text so he could better understand them. Even with that aid, the now senator-elect had difficulty articulating some of his responses. 

Reporter Dasha Burns said on NBC just before the interview aired that “In small talk before the interview without captioning, it wasn’t clear he was understanding our conversation.”

Mr. Fetterman‘s wife called on the reporter to apologize for her comments that Mrs. Fetterman characterized as being discriminatory to people with physical disabilities, according to the Independent. 

Mr. Fetterman’s challenges with speaking became more apparent during the debate on Oct. 25. He regularly fumbled his words, went back on his previous claim that he doesn’t support fracking and interrupted Mr. Oz’s closing remarks.

Mr. Fetterman avoided releasing his full medical records throughout the campaign.

• Matt Delaney can be reached at mdelaney@washingtontimes.com.

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