inside sources print logo
Get up to date Delaware Valley news in your inbox

Senate Rule Change Allows Fetterman to Vote in Sweats and Shorts

The old adage is to dress for the job you want. But for first-term U.S. Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.), the job has changed its dress code for him.

Fetterman, whose fitness to serve in the Senate has been in question since he suffered a debilitating stroke during the 2022 Democratic primary, has been roaming the halls of the Capitol in his favorite outfit — baggy shorts and a hoodie — for weeks. In order to vote, the shabbily-clad senator would stand at the edge of the Senate floor, with one foot still in the cloakroom.

Not anymore. The dress code has been dumped in an accommodation of Fetterman’s fashion choices. For senators, anyway. Staff and visitors must still wear suit jackets, dresses, and other traditional business attire.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) shrugged off the change as a minor matter.

“There has been an informal dress code that was enforced,” Schumer said in a statement. “Senators are able to choose what they wear on the Senate floor. I will continue to wear a suit.”

Critics promptly noted that “informal” codes aren’t “enforced.” In this case, the Senate’s sergeant-at-arms was in charge of upholding the dress code. Schumer has now instructed that senators no longer be held to any standard.

David Urban, who was chief of staff to the late Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), told CBS News the change was sad, saying Fetterman has worn a coat and tie in the past and should have continued to do so.

“It is serious work that you’re doing in the Senate. You’re not gardening. You’re running the nation,” Urban said.

Etiquette expert Jacqueline Whitmore told DVJournal she agreed.

“First, I’d like to ask Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to define ‘relaxed and casual attire.’ Does that mean jeans, shorts, gym clothes, or all of the above? A dress code of any kind needs to be clearly defined so there are no violations or grey areas. To allow senators to dress casually but to require all others who work on the Senate floor to conform to a more formal dress code seems unfair and unjust.”

Former Sen. Pat Toomey, who Fetterman replaced after beating Dr. Mehmet Oz in 2022, declined to comment on the dress code issue.

Jacqueline Whitmore, an etiquette expert at The Protocol School of Palm Beach, said, “First, I’d like to ask Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to define ‘relaxed and casual attire.’ Does that mean jeans, shorts, gym clothes, or all of the above? A dress code of any kind needs to be clearly defined so there are no violations or grey areas. To allow Senators to dress casually but to require all others who work on the Senate floor to conform to a more formal dress code seems unfair and unjust.”

Critics of the change called Schumer’s climbdown a win for Fetterman.

“The man’s an elected representative of the great state of Pennsylvania, serving in an august legislative chamber; would it have been too much to ask that he put on a tie?” asked the New York Post. “We don’t know how Fetterman won the fight, be it via hissy fit or simple obstinacy, but as of this week, the dress code is reportedly donezo.”

Leila, a spokesperson for Fetterman who refused to give her last name, said, “Sen. Fetterman is following all the dress code guidelines set by the Senate. Last week, Sen. Schumer directed the Senate sergeant of arms to no longer enforce the chamber’s informal dress code. And the Senate guidelines for dress have been changed and updated many times, just not in the last few years. So, this is not a new instance. This is just the first time it happened in a while.”

During a speech in Jacksonville on Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) spoke out about the Senate clothing rule.

“Did you guys hear the U.S. Senate just eliminated its dress code because you’ve got this guy from Pennsylvania who’s got a lot of problems? Let’s just be honest. Like how he got elected because they didn’t want the alternative,” DeSantis said. “He wears like sweatshirts and hoodies, and that’s his thing.

“To show up in the United States Senate [dressed like] that and not have the decency to put on proper attire, I think it’s disrespectful to the body,” DeSantis added. “And I think the fact that the Senate changed the rules to accommodate that, I think, speaks very poorly as to how they consider that.”

“We need to be lifting up our standards in this country, not dumbing down our standards in this country,” DeSantis said.

Many people weighed in on X (formerly Twitter).

Michael Caputo, who worked in the Trump administration, tweeted: “A sartorial suggestion for the @SenateGOP: If Fetterman can wear a hoodie, you can wear a hat.” It was accompanied by a picture of former President Trump tossing red MAGA caps.

“The Senate will no longer enforce its dress code, all because John Fetterman is a revolting slob,” added Fox News contributor Monica Crowley.

“A grown man going to work looking like a middle schooler,” the Pennridge Area Republican Club posted. “Embarrassing.”

Whitmore told DVJournal that her advice to corporate clients is, “Dress for your client’s comfort, not your own. Dressing well shows respect for yourself and for the people you serve.”

But Fetterman was unfazed.

“They’re freaking out, I don’t understand it,” he said of his critics. “Like, aren’t there more important things we should be working on right now instead of, you know, that I might be dressing like a slob?”

Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or

Veteran GOP Operative Caputo Says PA Supreme Court Playing Politics With Act 77

The Pennsylvania state Supreme Court on Tuesday voted 7-2 to overturn a lower court ruling that found  Pennsylvania’s Act 77 violates the state’s constitution. In a recent Delaware Valley Journal podcast, veteran GOP operative Michael Caputo, an outspoken opponent of Act 77, explained why he believes the Supreme Court is putting partisan politics ahead of Pennsylvania law.

Caputo spoke before the Supreme Court’s ruling.

“The Supreme Court had hearings and then stayed the decision of the lower court, which basically overturned Act 77, (The Commonwealth Court) ruled it unconstitutional,” Caputo said. The Commonwealth Court “spelled it out very clearly,” he said.

Michael Caputo

“I worked with Doug McLinko, a county commissioner and an election official from Bradford County, on his challenge of the act,” said Caputo. “He was the primary…plaintiff on the lawsuit that overturned Act 77, which is the legislature-driven, no excuse mail-in ballots law that led to massive, massive use of mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania in 2020.”

While the Commonwealth Court found it unconstitutional because the constitution calls for “in-person voting,” with a few excuses for absentee voting, the state Supreme Court disagreed.

“The Commonwealth Court decision on Act 77 and McLinko v. Pennsylvania spelled it out and said, ‘Look, this is unconstitutional. But the voters in Pennsylvania appear to like no excuse, mail-in ballots, so they need to amend the constitution. Until the constitution is amended, this is going to remain unconstitutional,'” he said.

“I believe the state Supreme Court knows that and still wants the public to have no excuse mail-in balloting at their disposal for the general election,” said Caputo. “I, for the life of me, can’t see the technical reason why they would demand that and allow it. I do have my suspicions, of course.

“Many of the Republican state legislators took a long time to understand just how much they had tilted the entire election of the nation by writing this unconstitutional law in their own state. For many, many months, over a year, they could not take the blame for what they had done…The problem is we’re going to go through the midterm, I think, with no-excuse mail-in ballots because it took so long for any effective legislative fix.

“Act 77 needs to be repealed entirely,” Caputo said.  “And if the Democrats and even some Republicans want no excuse, mail-in ballots, they need to amend the constitution.  The problem is…there’s no way to pass a constitutional amendment to get mail-in ballots for the 2024 presidential election. It’s a conundrum for Democrats, including Democrats on the Supreme Court because they really want that ability to have no excuse mail-in ballots in the presidential (election) just two years from now.”

Asked if mail-in ballots were one reason former President Donald Trump lost Pennsylvania in 2020, Caputo said, “I do believe that. I’ve seen some reports done by Pennsylvania investigators, Pennsylvania lawyers, Wally Zimolong, the attorney on our case, makes a great case that this led to widespread fraud.”



Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or