Back on June 7, Gisele Fetterman, the wife of Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman, told CNN that her husband would likely return to the campaign trail sometime in July.
ZELENY (voice-over): It’s been 25 days since John Fetterman has stepped on to the campaign trail in Pennsylvania. His wife Gisele now tells CNN he may not reappear until next month.
GISELE FETTERMAN, JOHN FETTERMAN’S WIFE: I think he deserves a month of break to get back and come back as strong as ever because this is going to be a tough race and a really important race, and I want him to be fully ready for it.
ZELENY (on-camera): So maybe in July?
G. FETTERMAN: Maybe. I think so. Yes. That’s my hope.
Since suffering the stroke May 13, Fetterman has made no public appearances, other than his campaign releasing short videos. Hopefully, Fetterman’s recovery is proceeding smoothly. But Fetterman was unable to make any campaign appearances over the Independence Day weekend. His campaign says he will be campaigning again “really soon.”
“John is feeling good,” said Joe Calvello, Fetterman’s campaign spokesperson. “He is getting better every day and will be back on the campaign trail really soon. His recovery is going smoothly and he is right on track.”
It would be good news if that is indeed the case. But Pennsylvania Democrats likely remember that Fetterman’s initial explanation of his hospitalization was, at minimum, a lie of omission. Fetterman didn’t mention his diagnosis of cardiomyopathy — a weakened heart muscle — and initially downplayed what was later revealed to be a severe stroke; in a subsequent statement, Fetterman stated that he “almost died.” On June 4, the Washington Post reported, “his ability to have conversations rapidly has not fully recovered, though he is improving and doctors still predict a full recovery.”
Maybe Fetterman doesn’t need to campaign; the lone post-primary poll showed him well ahead of Republican nominee Mehmet Oz. But, at least at this moment, the Fetterman campaign has two contrary messages. The first is that Fetterman is recovering well and right on track, there are no long-term concerns, and no one should have any worries about his ability to campaign or perform the duties of a U.S. senator. The second is that no, of course he cannot appear in public yet, and no one knows when he will.