Newly elected Sen. John Fetterman said he is now hearing the voice of the teacher from the “Peanuts” cartoon because of his severe hearing disability caused by his stroke, according to a report from the New York Times.
Fetterman has been suffering cognitive issues, including a problem with auditory processing after he suffered a stroke in May 2022 while campaigning for Pennsylvania’s open Senate seat.
The Senator, who was admitted to hospital earlier this week after experiencing lightheadedness, has struggled to adjust to life in the senate. He now needs technological tools to help him engage in conversations with staff and colleagues.
Fetterman also has to carry a closed captioning device that types out what is being said to him, so he can type out what is being said to him.
According to Feterman’s Democratic colleagues, the closed captioning system s helping him habe seamless conversations.
“It’s just a slight delay,” said Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez, D-Wash, the Times reported.
“I didn’t notice he was using it at first. Then I was like, ‘Why are they holding it?’ It took me a minute to figure out what was going on,” she added.
According to Fetterman’s chief of staff, Adam Jentleson, the Senator refuses to speak with reporters because he cannot answer their questions in echoing Senate hallways.
“Before the stroke, he was the kind of person who loved the give-and-take with reporters,” Jentleson told the Times. “The challenge is to be able to get back to that place, given the current limitations.”
Despite his auditory processing issues and refusal to release more of his medical records, Fetterman defeated GOP opponent Dr. Mehmet Oz in the 2022 midterm elections.
“We’re going to have to learn our own styles with it,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., told the New York Times of Fetterman’s condition after using the tablet to converse with him.
“What I was saying was accurate even when I talked fast. I wanted to make sure it was accurate. It was kind of to imagine what it would be like to be him.”
“He answers like you would answer anyone,” Klobuchar said. “It’s us that have to get used to it; he’s used to it.”
Sen. Bob Casey, D-Penn., who serves as Pennsylvania’s second Senator alongside Fetterman, says his condition is not a factor because people “understand disability.”
“There are a lot of people out there who understand disability and understand struggle, and he won big,” he told the outlet.
Fetterman unwittingly created a viral sensation when he tried to say ‘water’ during an event at a Philadelphia water treatment plant with President Joe Biden on Friday.
Earlier this week, Fetterman demonstrated his unfitness for his new role by searching for the word “water” but instead said “work.”