(The Hill) — Sen. John Fetterman says that America “is not sending their best and brightest” to represent them in Congress.
“Sometimes you literally just can’t believe like these people are making the decisions that are determining the government here. It’s actually scary,” the Pennsylvania Democrat said during a Wednesday appearance on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”
“Before the government almost shut down, I mean, it came down to a couple hours,” Fetterman said of the House and Senate last month passing a continuing resolution to fund the government into mid-November, narrowly avoiding a shutdown.
“I was in my office, and they finally came over from the House. And they’re like, ‘OK, well, this has to be unanimous in the Senate.’ And out of 99 of us, if one single one of us would have said no, the whole government would have shut down,” he told Colbert.
“That’s how dangerous that is to put that kind of power in one’s hands, because you have some very less gifted kinds of people there that are willing to shut down the government just as score points on Fox [News],” Fetterman said.
As House Republicans struggle to elect a new speaker after removing Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) earlier this month, Colbert asked if senators “feel pretty good right now that they’re not the most dysfunctional part of the government?”
“Well, it’s a low bar, really,” Fetterman replied.
“I just want everybody to realize just how truly dysfunctional it really is,” the 54-year-old lawmaker continued. “And I always tell people, don’t worry, please don’t worry. It’s much worse than you think.“
Fetterman also opened up about his public mental health challenges. He returned to the Senate in April after taking a leave of absence to be treated for depression.
“It’s a privilege and it’s a duty to talk about this,” he said.
“I want anyone who’s listening to this, that sees this: If you are suffering from depression, please get help. Please get help, because it works,” Fetterman urged viewers.
“I get emotional, because when you’re in the blackness, depression tricks you into thinking that you’ve lost, even though you might have won,” he said.
“I was a skeptic. I’m like, ‘I’m never gonna get better, like this is never going to change.’ And it takes you in a very more dangerous kind of direction. And I really want to emphasize: Anyone that is on that slope, don’t ever, ever, ever make the decision to ever harm yourself.”
Colbert also asked the freshman senator about the recent drama surrounding the Senate’s dress code. The Senate voted last month to require business attire be worn on the floor of the chamber following backlash from both sides over a move by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to relax the dress code.
“It’s assumed that it was about for me,” said Fetterman, who is known for sporting hoodies and gym shorts. “But I never asked for it.”
“But I was really struck by ‘Oh my God, the world is gonna burn because he’s going to wear a hoodie on the floor,’” he exclaimed, feigning shock.
“Ukraine [funding], or shutting down the government, or all these issues — I think it’s much more important to seize ‘What will this man wear on the floor of the Senate?’” Fetterman quipped.
After Colbert gave Fetterman a gag t-shirt bearing the image of a tuxedo, the lawmaker presented his own sartorial offering to the CBS host: an oversized Carhartt hoodie.
“I think I could go camping in this,” Colbert said with a laugh as he tried on the Fetterman-inspired getup.