Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro says he hasn't gotten any pressure from Democrats to urge Sen. John Fetterman to step down after he checked himself into Walter Reed National Military Center to receive treatment for clinical depression, but if he does get any calls, he will dismiss them "immediately."
“He's going to get the help that he needs … and do a great job for the people of Pennsylvania as their senator for a long time,” Shapiro told The Philadelphia Inquirer about the first-term Democrat senator.
Shapiro, also a Democrat, said he expects Fetterman to come back "stronger than ever" after his hospitalization, and that he is “really inspired” by Fetterman's courage for going public with his mental health struggles and for getting help.
Fetterman, a former lieutenant governor from Pennsylvania, checked himself into the hospital after his issues with depression, which he's had all his life, became worse.
The senator also went to the hospital on Feb. 8 after he felt light-headed, and stayed two nights. Last week, Fetterman returned to the Senate for votes, but last Wednesday checked himself into Walter Reed for voluntary treatment for clinical depression.
He suffered a stroke during his campaign against GOP challenger Mehmet Oz, and once he became a senator had to rely on closed captioning assistance because of continued auditory processing issues to perform his duties and interact with other lawmakers.
Shapiro told The Inquirer that he hasn't spoken with Fetterman since he entered Walter Reed, but that he's exchanged texts with the senator's wife, Gisele.
If Fetterman does resign, Shapiro will need to appoint a temporary replacement, and then a special election would be called to fill the remainder of his six-year term.
Fetterman, as the lieutenant governor, and Shapiro, Pennsylvania's former attorney general, often butted heads while they were both on the state Board of Pardons, where Fetterman was the chairman. However, they campaigned together several times in 2022 while running for their new offices.
Fetterman's conservative critics, though, say his two hospitalizations show his campaign downplayed the seriousness of his stroke and misled voters about his health issues.
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