Senator John Fetterman (D-PA) appeared to tear up as he got emotional during a hearing as he reflected on how Republicans “ridiculed and made fun of” him over his disability.
During a committee hearing on Thursday, where witnesses with disabilities testified, Fetterman said disabilities and accessibility have been a “very personal issue” and showed an iPhone transcription app he relies on to communicate with others.
Since Fetterman’s stroke in the weeks leading up to the Pennsylvania Democrat senate primary, he has had trouble with his speech.
The freshman Senator from Pennsylvania suffered a stroke just days before the Democrat primary in 2022.
Despite winning the nomination, Fetterman stayed out of the public eye as public scrutiny ensued.
As Fetterman dodged debates, pressure mounted for him to take the stage with Republican nominee Dr. Mehmet Oz.
However, when he finally made public appearances, his speech disability became apparent, relying on closed captioning to adequately understand the moderators and his opponent during the debate.
“This is my iPhone, and this is a transcription service that allows me to fully participate in this meeting and conversations with my children and interacting with my my staff,” Fetterman said as he showed off the application.
“I had a stroke about 18 months ago,” Fetterman stated.
“You know, and I have lost my ability to fully process language,” he added.
“And it’s profound to know though, that I never really considered that without this kind of technology,” continued.
“I couldn’t watch television. And I can’t imagine if I didn’t have this kind of a bridge to allow me to communicate with other people effectively,” Fetterman recalled.
Fetterman appeared to get emotional as he reflected on how he has been “ridiculed and made fun of” (presumably, he is talking about Republicans) over his disability.
“Because I live in a political environment. I was ridiculed and made fun of because I wasn’t able to process things sometimes or say things I’m so sorry that I’m sure many of you had to go through this kind of thing,” Fetterman said as he teared up.
“I was lucky that I was — I was lucky to go through my life — the vast majority that with this kind of disability that I have, but, but again, I can’t imagine and how, the challenges and I and I admire, you know, everyone that has to kind of live with these kinds of struggles and prevail over them,” Fetterman said.
Fetterman’s disability has been well documented, with many arguing he should not be in the political sphere while suffering from brain damage.
Fetterman recently recalled he was 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.
Earlier this year, Fetterman confirmed he was suffering from cognitive issues, including auditory processing problems.
The Senator, admitted to hospital earlier this year after experiencing lightheadedness, struggled to adjust to life in the senate.
Fetterman created a viral sensation this year he attempted to say ‘water’ during an event with Joe Biden.
The Senator appeared to demonstrate his unfitness for office by searching for the word “water” but instead said “work.”
During Biden’s remarks, he said Fetterman had “been a great partner, pal. And you’ve only been there exactly one month. But you’ve been a fighter not only for Pittsburgh but for the whole country.”