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September 28, 2023

Fetterman’s Fashion Show Comes to an End

“Formalizing” a Senate dress code “is the right path forward,” says Chuck Schumer.

Well that was fast.

Quicker than John Fetterman could pull a hoodie over his head, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer undid his recent instruction regarding the chamber’s dress code. Ten days ago, he had directed the Senate’s sergeant-at-arms to stop enforcing the informal dress code, thus allowing the junior senator from Pennsylvania to show up for work looking like he just rolled out of bed, wandering around the Capitol building sporting his trademark hoodie and gym shorts.

Fetterman suffered a stroke before winning election, damaging his cognitive faculties and leaving him fighting depression earlier this year. He’s been absent a lot, but when he did show up for work he had already been flouting the dress code. The Associated Press reported on Fetterman’s “workaround” in May: “He votes from the doorway of the Democratic cloakroom or the side entrance, making sure his ‘yay’ or ‘nay’ is recorded before ducking back out.”

In any case, Schumer’s change — including the sight of Fetterman presiding over the Senate looking little better than that guy in the buffalo hat — quickly turned into a fiasco, and the Senate became even more of a laughingstock than usual. The memes, videos, and sundry Internet jokes were hilarious.

“Though we’ve never had an official dress code, the events over the past week have made us all feel as though formalizing one is the right path forward,” a clearly chastised Schumer said before bringing to the floor a resolution adopting a formal dress code for the Senate. It passed by unanimous consent.

Fetterman may not want to look professional, but other senators clearly weren’t having it. Mitt Romney and Joe Manchin teamed up to create the SHORTS Act — because it obviously needed clever branding. The resolution says men must wear a “coat, tie, and slacks or other long pants,” while women must wear dresses or suits. Republicans and Democrats came together, sang Kumbaya, and passed a bipartisan dress code.

The Republic is saved.

As for Fetterman, he shrugged off the change — literally by posting on X a pic of a shrugging sitcom star. “I continue to vote from the door, and when I ever speak on the floor, I was always going to wear a suit,” Fetterman said after the vote. “So this is just a non-issue.”

For his part, Romney opined that his dress code resolution was meant “to show the respect and admiration we have for the institution of the government of the United States of America.”

We’re all for decorum and professional attire while conducting the business of governing this great country, but we have to admit we rolled our eyes at Romney’s pompous remarks. Are we supposed to feel better about Congress simply because the men and women wrecking our nation look good while doing it?

For reasons far deeper than clothing, Fetterman is certainly not fit to be a United States senator. But, whether he means to or not, he has a point: He’s just showing the same level of respect for Congress as Congress shows for the American people and the Constitution.

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