On Wednesday, Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman struggled to speak during a Senate Environment Committee hearing about the Sunday morning collapse of I–95 in Philadelphia. The members of the Senate were seeking answers from the U.S. Department of Transportation about the local highway’s destruction and possible timelines for repairs.
The roadway collapsed after a tanker truck reportedly ignited underneath the metal beams supporting it. As the beams melted, the borough of Philadelphia was left with a catastrophic mess that will reportedly take months to repair.
It was during this hearing that Chairman Sen. Tom Carper (D–DE) invited the freshman Senator Fetterman to comment. Video footage shows that Fetterman began by trying to pronounce the highway’s name but he continually stumbled over his words.
“Uh no, I – uh, would just, um, really like to, you know — the 95, 95, 95,” Fetterman first said as he kept repeating the highway’s name. He paused several times before waving his hands in the direction of the Chairman.
John Fetterman weighs in on the I-95 collapse as only he can. Profound, trenchant, eloquent. Good choice, Pennsylvania. pic.twitter.com/wgLU72pu3L
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) June 16, 2023
The Pennsylvania Senator is a recent stroke survivor and he has continually had difficulty with speaking and articulating his words. As such, Congressional candidate Sandy Smith referred to Fetterman’s struggle as a sign that “our country is in serious trouble”.
The freshman Senator was on the campaign trail last year and also suffered a stroke during that time. In one video released from his campaign, Fetterman is heard telling the audience to “Send us back to New Jersey. Send me to D.C. for you.”
The majority of those that suffer strokes also go on to develop clinical depression and in February Fetterman checked himself into Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in order to receive treatment.
As the repairs for I–95 continue to move forward, Sen. Fetterman’s struggles remain a troubling reminder of the importance of understanding and caring for those with physical disabilities, regardless of their public office or position.