DeSantis comments on Senate dress code change

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Of all the important issues Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer could be working on, he chose to eliminate the dress code for senators. This is where we are in Biden’s America with the Democrats in charge of the Senate.


The reason for the dress code elimination is to coddle one lone senator – John Fetterman. Ever since his hospitalization for clinical depression, he has worn his trademark slovenly fashion statement – gym shorts, a hoodie, and sneakers. He looks like he’s going to the gym, not the U.S. Senate. It’s not like the man can’t wear a suit. He wore one as lt. governor in Pennsylvania and he wore one when he began his term in the Senate. He just doesn’t want to wear a suit, so he doesn’t. He wants to be comfortable. It’s his brand. Fetterman cosplays as the every man.

Asked about the dress code changes on Monday, Fetterman said he’d likely keep to his casual look but wouldn’t rush to flaunt it on the floor. “I think we should all want to be more comfortable, and now we have that option. And if people prefer to wear a suit, then that’s great,” he said.

Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis weighed in on Schumer’s decision to normalize the end of traditional decorum in the Senate.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, trailing in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, used the dress code as an opening to attack Fetterman rather than the man beating him in the polls. “The U.S. Senate just eliminated its dress code because you got this guy from Pennsylvania — who’s got a lot of problems … he wears, like, sweatshirts and hoodies and shorts. … We need to be lifting up our standards in this country, not dumbing down,” he said at a Monday event.

“I dress like he campaigns,” Fetterman retorted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.


No, that response did not make any sense. But, it was from Fetterman, so what did we expect? Fetterman responded to a tweet by Nate Silver as he tried to insert himself in to the conversation on attire.

The man is brain-damaged from a near fatal stroke. He wants comfort above all else? He should be in the comfort of his home in Pennsylvania with his family instead of in the Senate. He should be recovering. Special allowances were made for him when he was elected in the shape he’s in. It should be noted that other senators have had strokes and long recoveries, yet they all returned to work wearing a suit. Fetterman behaves as a man-child and Schumer has made the decision to enable that behavior.

The office deserves respect from the officeholders. He is an elected official. What are the people of Pennsylvania thinking?

Fetterman tried to be clever during an interview but failed. Shocker, I know. He was dissing Marjorie Taylor Greene for her comments on the elimination of the dress code.

“The Senate no longer enforcing a dress code for Senators to appease Fetterman is disgraceful,” Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene posted on X. “Dress code is one of society’s standards that set etiquette and respect for our institutions. Stop lowering the bar!”


Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) is not a fan of the anything-goes rule. She teased that she may show up in a bikini.

Other conservatives were not so congenial in their objections.

“If my interns can put on a suit so can a U.S. Senator,” GOP Congressman Ryan Zinke wrote on X.

“So let me get this straight,” Trump senior adviser Stephen Miller wrote on X. “The entire senate is jettisoning its storied history and debasing itself before the world to accommodate the slovenliness of one man, John Fetterman? Will a single Senator object to this humiliation?”

And these senators spoke out, too.

“I don’t like it,” said Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa. “I think we’ve got to maintain a level of decorum.”

“Well you know me, I’m one of the most formal senators here, so I was put off by it,” joked her fellow Republican, Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina. “We need to focus on producing results, not what we wear.”

The whole disruption is unnecessary. Fetterman had found a workaround to putting on a suit in order to be on the Senate floor for votes. He votes from the doorway of the Democrat cloakroom or the side entrance. He makes sure his vote is recorded before he leaves. There is no reason to treat one senator so differently than the others.


The dress code in the Senate has been the subject of battles in the past.

In more recent years, women fought for the right to bare arms on the Senate floor, which followed a 1993 campaign, led by Barbara Mikulski and Carol Moseley Braun, to wear pantsuits. That was also around the time Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell began to go bolo with his ties on the chamber floor and the Senate started a summertime tradition of sporting seersucker.

Before Fetterman arrived in Washington, Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s outré couture kept tongues wagging, leading to debates on the appropriateness of her fashion choices, which led to more debates on the appropriateness of debating her fashion choices.

“Fashion has always changed, and one trend that’s a lot older than one might imagine is the trend toward things getting more casual,” said Richard Thompson Ford, a Stanford Law professor and author of “Dress Codes: How the Laws of Fashion Made History.”

The Senate dress code was never officially formalized.

According to an unsigned Senate Historical Office memo dated this year, the chamber never formalized its norms around business wear. “Senate attire has been determined by tradition and custom rather than formal dress codes or rules,” it reads. “Dress requirements have never appeared in the Senate’s Rules for the Regulation of the Senate Wing or the Senate Manual, for example, and dress requirements on the Senate floor have been largely self-enforced.”


A crazier part of this new normal is that Senate staff don’t fall under the new rule. Rules for thee but not for me.


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