Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pennsylvania) strolled through the Capitol on Tuesday wearing casual shorts, sneakers, and a baggy, buttoned, short-sleeve shirt.
The down-dressed attire of first-term senators is now in the spotlight thanks to relaxed Senate rules regarding how members should dress, announced over the weekend by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York.
“America… it’s about freedom and choice,” Fetterman told The Hill on Tuesday morning about the Senate dress code changes. “as if [a] It’s like Burger King’s “You Rule.” ”
The Senate has for years strictly enforced an unofficial dress code for members, with men required to wear suits, ties and office clothes in the Senate chamber. These rules continue to apply to staff and external visitors.
But under the new rules, more relaxed attire, such as hoodies, sneakers and gym wear, is fine under the rules for senators on the go.
Whether it will become the norm is less clear, especially amid some criticism of dress code changes.
All male senators attending the weekly caucus luncheon on Tuesday wore coats and ties, except for Mr. Fetterman, who wore shorts and a more casual shirt.
Many said they had no intention of changing how they dress in the chamber, and several Republicans said changing the dress code was a step in the wrong direction.
“I think it’s safe to say that most, if not all, Republican senators think you should dress up to work. I can’t imagine that happening,” Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky told reporters Tuesday.
Other criticisms of Fetterman in particular and the rule changes in general have been more pointed.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) called the new dress code “disgraceful,” and conservative commentator Monica Crowley called Fetterman “rebellious vulgarity.”
Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) accused Democrats of trying to “transform America and take us to a place where we are far less respectful than we have historically been.”
Fetterman denied being the architect of the rule change. “No, actually it wasn’t,” he said when asked directly.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) criticized Schumer’s “terrible choice” and called for a reversal.
Romney, who recently announced his retirement at the end of his current term, asked, “Do you think judges should wear shorts and T-shirts when they sit on the witness stand?” “No, because we want to respect the judicial system. Similarly, this is the United States government.”
Even the left-leaning hosts of ABC’s popular daytime political talk show “The View” denounced the rule change.
Some Democrats argue that criticism of Fetterman and the new norms is clearly partisan.
Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) pushed back against Greene’s comments, saying that while Greene is “complaining about the Senate’s dress code,” her colleagues are “pushing the federal government off a cliff.” , citing a looming deadline to avoid a government shutdown. The end of September.
Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) echoed Smith’s sentiments, saying Republicans’ insistence on dress codes during a potential government shutdown is “totally misplaced.”
Not all criticism was this serious.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) joked that she was going to “wear a bikini” on the Senate floor, and Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Alabama), a former coach of the Auburn University football team, quipped: He said this with all his heart in mind. He might wear a “coaching outfit” the next time he votes.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), the firebrand congressman who built a huge conservative media brand, assured his social media followers that he has no intention of wearing a Speedo to the floor. in the comments From the conservative podcast “Chick on the Right,” he mocked how creative some lawmakers have become with rule changes.
Some of Mr. Fetterman’s Democratic colleagues oppose the change.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-Va.) told The Hill on Tuesday that he spoke directly with Fetterman and that he thinks the dress code change is “wrong” and will not wear a traditional suit and tie in the Senate. He said he informed Pennsylvania state lawmakers about this. The floor “degrades” the chamber.
Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), who wore a “Barbie power pink suit,” didn’t seem too shocked by the dress code change, saying, “Things have been a little loose for a while.” told The Hill.
“I respect the chamber. I wear what I think is appropriate,” Rosen said. “But I think there are some things that could be modernized.”
Mr. Rosen objected to placing the blame on Mr. Fetterman, citing former Sen. Richard Burr, RN.C., who famously wore shoes without socks.
“Even if you’re standing in the hallway, look back at people coming in from the gym,” Rosen says. “Look at all the men on the floor in cowboy boots and athletic shoes. So let’s not blame one person. There are a lot of criminals.”
Fetterman, who is active on social media, defended the new dress code in response to criticism leveled at her.
“If you vape or grab a pig during a live musical, you’ll be made into a folk hero,” he tweeted, attacking Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) over the controversy. It looks like it is. Regarding her behavior at the recent Denver performance of “Beetlejuice.”
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D.R.I.) joked that he hopes to see “no loincloths” on the Senate floor in the near future, but said the real benefit lies with fugitive senators. Ta.
“For most of us, the thing that makes the biggest difference is if you’re stuck somewhere and they’re waiting for you on the floor and you have to dash somewhere and actually When you have someone you have to talk to, you can do that,” he said.
When asked about the new dress code in a recent interview with CNN, Fetterman said joked. The changes are “catastrophic.”
“It’s strange,” he told the network. “That means there are more important kinds of problems we should be addressing. Instead of saying, ‘I like it,’ it’s like, ‘What if I dress like an ass?’
Al Weaver and Alexander Bolton contributed.
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