“I think we need to have standards when it comes to what we’re wearing on the floor of the Senate, and we’re in the process of discussing that right now as to what those standards will be.” – Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).
It’s been a week since Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) “quietly” and unilaterally changed the dress code for the Senate to allow for the sloppy casual look, and I think it’s safe to say at this point that it has backfired on Schumer big time.
The move, of course, was made in an effort to accommodate Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.), who on any given day arrives for work in the United States Senate looking like he woke up too late to put any effort into how he looks:
Senate Majority Leader Schumer directs the Sergeant at Arms to no longer enforce the Senate's dress code — to accommodate the senator who wants to wear this outfit to perform his duties. From @axios: https://t.co/M6NwVLTi3z pic.twitter.com/AFkE0gAouT
— Byron York (@ByronYork) September 18, 2023
But while there are those who might say “eh, it’s not a big deal,” as it turns out, many of Fetterman’s colleagues do think it’s a big deal – and not just on the Republican side of the aisle but on the Democrat side as well.
On Tuesday, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) told Politico that he had talked to Fetterman personally and would do whatever he could to “hold the decorum of the Senate”:
Manchin tells me he spoke to Fetterman today about the Senate dress code change
“I said ‘John, I think it’s wrong & there's no way I can comply with that’…Wanted to tell him directly that I totally oppose it & I will do everything I can to try to hold the decorum of the Senate”
— Ursula Perano (@UrsulaPerano) September 19, 2023
It wasn’t long after that statement that we learned Manchin was circulating a resolution among members of the Senate to get Schumer to reverse course with the support of Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who is Schumer’s second in command as Senate Majority Whip:
But the decision to loosen the dress code is getting bipartisan pushback, including from Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.), who says the Senate should have standards.
“The senator in question from Pennsylvania is a personal friend, but I think we need to have standards when it comes to what we’re wearing on the floor of the Senate, and we’re in the process of discussing that right now as to what those standards will be,” Durbin told “The Briefing with Steve Scully” on SiriusXM’s POTUS channel.
“I think the Senate needs to act on this,” Durbin said.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) described the bipartisan group of senators who want to restore the Senate dress code “the coalition of the rational.”
Manchin spokesperson: “Next week, Senator Manchin intends to file a bipartisan resolution to ensure the Senate dress code remains consistent with previous expectations.”
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) September 21, 2023
Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) told CNN’s Jake Tapper in an interview Wednesday that he, too, was not a fan of the change:
CNN’s @jaketapper: “I wondered what you thought of Schumer changing the Senate dress code. It will accommodate…the broski-takes-the-garbage-to-the-curb-on-Sundays outfits that Sen. Fetterman…favors.”
Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ): “I don’t like it.” pic.twitter.com/tLsSpzMObd
— The Recount (@therecount) September 20, 2023
Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) told Axios he felt it was important for Senators to “dress respectfully”:
“I am not going to change what I’m doing, I will just tell you that,” Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, a Montana farmer, told Axios. “My personal opinion is, you got to dress respectfully.”
While it’s unknown just how many Senate Democrats disapprove of changing the dress code to allow Senators (but not staffers and visitors) to wear what they want, 47 Senate Republicans are on record as opposing it:
On the Republican side, 46 GOP senators wrote to Schumer, asking him to reverse his decision. Sen. Katie Britt (R-Ala.) also said she was opposed but preferred to resolve the issue in private.
In prior interviews, Britt has talked about how she and Fetterman have become friends – especially through his hospital stay earlier this year, so it’s not surprising she’d take the position that while the dress code decision should be reversed the issue should not be played out in the media, either.
The other two GOP Senators who didn’t sign on to the letter, Josh Hawley (Mo.) and Mike Braun (Ind.), essentially said they felt there were more pressing issues to address. I suspect that could change if Manchin’s resolution was a vote or two short of being able to pass.
All of that said, the jokes and suggestions have been fast and flowing on the Twitter machine:
BREAKING: Sen. Elizabeth Warren was spotted wearing some questionable garb after the Senate relaxed its dress code policy.
— Jeff Charles, An Awful Pundit🏴 (@jeffcharlesjr) September 22, 2023
I've always said the proper dress code for the Senate and all politicians is they should have to dress as clowns. Suits make them look important; clown outfits are more appropriate.
— Frank J. Fleming (@IMAO_) September 19, 2023
A commenter noted that if you want to nuke Chuck Schumer’s absurd new dress code from orbit, all you need is one Republican showing up on the Senate floor with a hoodie that says TRUMP WON. https://t.co/YLoLMFwzsj
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) September 22, 2023
Honestly I never had any desire to get into politics however I’m now considering running for senate since they no longer have a dress code.
— Larry The Cable Guy (@GitRDoneLarry) September 21, 2023
New Jersey Democrat Senator Bob Menendez says he’s against relaxing the Senate dress code because there aren’t enough pockets in gym shorts to stuff cash bribes
— Sean Spicer (@seanspicer) September 23, 2023
— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —DONATE
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