‘Like a Riddle:’ Pennsylvania Democrat Senator John Fetterman Raises Eyebrows With Near Incoherent Questioning in Senate Hearing

Pennsylvania Democrat Senator John Fetterman raised eyebrows with his borderline incoherent and choppy questioning in a Tuesday Senate Banking Committee hearing. 

Fetterman was the last senator to ask questions during a hearing on the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank earlier in the year, and he appeared to struggle through his opening statement. 

The Dem senator noted that some colleagues of the witnesses “went to go to Hawaiis (sic) after there was a crash of your bank” and said he “couldn’t believe it.”

“So, I went up on the Internet, and it’s like, it did happen. It did happen. It did happen,” said Fetterman, and held up a cutout of a headline from the New York Post titled “Ex-Silicon Valley Bank CEO Greg Becker jets to Hawaii after collapse.”

“And it’s in Fortune, the second-biggest bank in U.S. history collapsed and chose to go to Hawaii on that,” continued Fetterman. “You know, I’ve never been to Hawaii, and neither has my family. I guess I’ve never cranked, excuse me, crashed a bank.”

The senator asked the witnesses if they believed it’s “a running joke” among the banking community that the federal government will bail them out when in trouble, which former CEO of Silicon Valley Bank Gregory Becker said he does not “believe that’s the case.”

“Really? Because every bank you seemingly that crashed, it’s like, ‘We can bail him out. This one crashed, we’ll bail them out,” said Fetterman. “So far, everything’s been true. So, doesn’t it feel that now if a bank really believed that they wouldn’t be bailed out, now after bailing them out, these couple of bailouts, they are going to.”

“Do you believe that is not outrageous that, no matter how deplorable your performance is, you are made as whole an all by…taxpapers (sic),” continued the Pennsylvania senator. “So, what do yous (sic) believe?”

Senator Fetterman then asked what would have happened if Silicon Valley Bank hadn’t been bailed out, then said, “Is it staggering? Is it a staggering…it’s a responsibility that the head of a bank could literally, could literally crash our economy.”

“It’s astonishing. That’s like if you have, I mean like, and they also realize is that now they have…guaranteed way to be saved by, again, by no matter, by how?” said Fetterman. “Isn’t it appropriate that this kind of control should be more stricter to prevent this kind of thing from going, or should we go on start bailing and sailing whoever bank regardless of how…their conduct is?”

After a pause and no answer, Fetterman said he would offer “an example” before attacking the GOP for wanting to introduce work requirements for food stamps and asking if the Silicon Valley Bank would have a “working requirement” following a bailout. 

“Because they seem more preoccupied when then SNAP requirements for works for hungry people but not about protecting the taxpapers (sic) that will bail no matter whatever does about a bank to crash it,” said Fetterman, before a long pause, after which he turned control back over to the committee chairman, Democrat Sherrod Brown of Ohio. 

Online users react to Fetterman’s confusing questioning

Online users responded to Fetterman’s choppy questioning during the hearing by the Senate Banking Committee on one of the most substantial bank failures in American history. 

On Twitter, conservative podcaster Graham Allen said Fetterman is “still struggling and hasn’t recovered from his stroke.” He accused the Democrat Party of “using” the senator and not caring about his well-being.

Collin Rugg, an internet personality, tweeted that it was “the most painful 90 seconds you will watch all month.” At the same time, Clay Travis, founder of OutKick, said Fetterman was “incapable of speech or coherent thought.

Fetterman’s spokesperson, Joe Calvello, said, “We have been clear for literally months and months that John continues to have auditory processing issues due to the effects of his stroke.”

“If sickos on the internet want to keep making fun of John for recovering from a health challenge, that’s between them and their consciences,” said Calvello. 

Senator Fetterman has raised eyebrows after his return to work following a months-long hospital stay after checking himself in for depression. The Dem was hospitalized from mid-February to mid-April this year.

Fetterman suffered a stroke on the campaign trail but has resumed his chairmanship on the Senate Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Food and Nutrition, Specialty, Organics, and Research. 

Calvello said it’s “a sad but true fact of life that some people seem to get their jollies attacking John for the auditory processing issues resulting from his stroke, but they’re just shouting into the wind.”

He continued, saying, “Republicans already tried emptying the arsenal attacking John’s health, and Pennsylvanians had his back in a big way,” said Calvello. “As a senator, John is fighting for forgotten communities and all of the people of Pennsylvania, regardless of their social media habits.”