Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) seems to be enjoying the Senate’s new relaxed dress code.
On Thursday, a video showed the Pennsylvania senator walking through the halls of the Capitol in shorts and a short-sleeve shirt heading to a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Meanwhile, others in the hallway were seen wearing suits.
Watch the video below:
Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) arrives for the Senate's closed-door meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a short-sleeve shirt and shorts. pic.twitter.com/2ZWIdGBWYn
— The Recount (@therecount) September 21, 2023
The video comes after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) updated the dress code to let Senators “choose what they wear on the Senate floor.”
Fetterman has previously been seen wearing hoodies in other parts of the Capitol aside from the Senate floor, where it is allowed.
And it is not unheard of for senators to wear more casual attire in the building when not on the Senate floor. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has been seen heading to votes in gym clothes as well.
Sen. Ted Cruz comes to votes in workout clothes, telling reporters they scheduled a vote “in the middle” of his basketball game pic.twitter.com/XgzsUE1hu8
— Ali Zaslav (@alizaslav) July 27, 2021
Shortly after the change was announced, liberal outlets poked fun at conservatives for expressing outrage at the move.
But the Senate is not some social club. It is not your living room at home. It is an institution where famous and crucial decisions in our nation’s history have been and will be debated.
And seeing Fetterman preside over the Senate in a short-sleeve shirt and shorts — as he did this week — just strikes one as way too casual for the chamber — especially as staffers are not included in the dress code change.
AMERICA 2023 – Slob Fetterman presides over the United States Senate wearing a short-sleeve shirt, shorts, and sneakers. pic.twitter.com/e4wYtLOzy7
— The First (@TheFirstonTV) September 21, 2023
It is one thing if you think a suit is too uncomfortable or stuffy. But couldn’t you at least wear a dressier shirt and maybe some pants?
These days you can get stretchy dress shirts that are more comfortable, and they make darker jeans that don’t really look like jeans unless you examine them closely.
There are options available to be comfortable without looking like you rolled out of bed five minutes ago and just strolled over to the Senate chamber.
When you put the effort into getting dressed up, it shows that to some extent — beyond just a dress code — you understand the importance of the work you have to do and respect the institution. But when you meet with world leaders or preside over the Senate looking like you’re meeting up with some friends for a beer, it looks like you either view yourself as more important than others who have to dress up, or you don’t take your work and the institution seriously.
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