On Tuesday, MSNBC and NBC News reporter Dasha Burns previewed her recent interview with Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman and revealed that Fetterman required “unconventional” needs due to “lingering auditory processing issues” resulting from his stroke in May.
Fetterman’s struggles since his stroke earlier this year have led to increasing questions about his mental fitness for office. Following the stroke, Fetterman stayed off the campaign trail for most of the summer repeatedly dodged debates with his opponent, Republican Mehmet Oz. He has since finally committed to a debate with Oz on October 25.
“Fetterman has always been an unconventional candidate, but this is a particularly unconventional interview,” Burns explained to MSNBC’s Katy Tur, adding it was a “very different” interview than a previous one they had in May before Fetterman’s stroke.
Fetterman required closed captioning so he could better understand and respond to Burns’ questions, but he was more capable of responding after reading the questions.
“He still has lingering auditory processing issues as a result of the stroke, which means he has a hard time understanding what he’s hearing. Now once he reads the question, he’s able to understand,” she explained.
Burns said that overall Fetterman still struggled to understand conversations.
“It did seem that he had a hard time understanding our conversations,” she said.
As Fetterman continued to dodge debates with Oz while exhibiting signs of issues caused by his stroke, Fetterman’s hometown newspaper recently questioned his “ability to serve” and called for Fetterman to accept a debate with Oz.
The editorial board of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said that Fetterman’s refusal to debate and his “obvious struggles” with speech raises “legitimate concerns” about his mental fitness for office.
“If Mr. Fetterman is not well enough to debate his opponent, that raises serious concerns about his ability to serve as a United States senator,” the editorial board wrote. “Voters have a right to know whether their prospective senator can do the job—including handling the give-and-take of a vigorous debate.”
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