by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Pennsylvania senator John Fetterman thinks everyone is being ridiculous for getting hung up on the Senate dress code — revoked for senators only; staffers, pages, and visitors must continue to “dress appropriately” — and that people shouldn’t focus on that. Fine, let’s take a look at Fetterman’s record since he was sworn in, including an absence rate that is only exceeded by California senator Dianne Feinstein’s. Even beyond his stroke recovery and mental-health struggles, Fetterman has said he finds the Senate to be fixated on dumb things, and he’s understandably pained by the long stretches of separation from his family. Obviously, Fetterman doesn’t think the job is worth the aggravation of putting on a suit. In light of all this . . . is Fetterman being a senator really the right choice for anyone? Most notably, even for himself?
Why Do You Run for Senate If You Think the Institution Is Dumb?
If you’re a man who really hates wearing a suit, then perhaps being a U.S. Senator isn’t the job for you. I assume that before he made the choice to run for Senate, John Fetterman had seen the Senate. C-SPAN is on just about every cable system. The notion that male senators wear suits up on Capitol Hill, and in particular when they’re on the floor of the chamber, cannot possibly have been a surprise to him.
In fact, back in October 2022, when a Pittsburgh radio-show host asked Fetterman, “Will you wear your hoodie on the Senate floor?” the candidate responded, “I’m going to only wear what you’re supposed to wear and whatever dress code.” Eh, never mind, I suppose.
You probably noticed that the U.S. Senate has dropped its dress code for senators, and the reason is pretty much that Fetterman doesn’t want to wear a suit anymore.