Sen. John Fetterman (D-Penn.) shrugged off the Senate’s decision to restore its dress code for lawmakers on Wednesday night using a popular Kevin James meme.
The Senate passed a bipartisan resolution by unanimous consent on Wednesday to restore the dress policy, which means male senators are again required to wear coats and ties, while female senators have to wear business attire.
The resolution reverses a decision last week by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to relax the dress code for senators.
Schumer’s decision was met with backlash, and Fetterman—notorious for frequently donning a hoodie and shorts—came under fire as well.
“I plan to wear a bikini tomorrow to the Senate floor,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said after the initial announcement.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) similarly criticized the move, writing on X that “dress code is one of society’s standards that set etiquette and respect for our institutions.”
Other lawmakers unhappy with the initial change included Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) who said “it stinks,” and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) who said he is “not a big fan.” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) was a vocal critic of the change as well.
And nearly every Senate Republican signed onto a letter urging Schumer to rethink the policy change.
“The Senate is a place of honor and tradition, and the Senate floor is where we conduct the business of the American people. It is where we debate the policies which impact every American family and, when necessary, it is where we must make the gravest decision imaginable—whether to send our fellow Americans into battle to defend the freedoms we all hold dear,” the senators wrote. “The world watches us on that floor and we must protect the sanctity of that place at all costs.”
“Allowing casual clothing on the Senate floor disrespects the institution we serve and the American families we represent,” the letter added.
Fetterman scoffed at the attention the dress code has been receiving and indicated that the reversal isn’t a big deal.
“Aren’t there more important things we should be talking about rather than if I dress like a slob?” Fetterman told MSNBC of the initial backlash.
Prior to the reversal, he did agree to only wear a suit on the Senate floor to appease those promoting the “whole silly dress code thing.”
And on Wednesday, he released a wordless statement on Schumer’s reversal: the meme of Kevin James smirking that’s become increasingly popular.
Others, however, had a more verbose response.
“Thankfully Sen. Schumer’s unprecedented decision was overruled by the will of the Senate,” wrote Grassley on Wednesday. “God bless COMMON SENSE”
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) praised the reversal in a statement, saying: “As senators, we should demonstrate reverence for the institution in which we serve—and our attire is one of the most basic expressions of that respect. Proud our resolution to reinstate the business attire dress code on the Senate floor passed unanimously.”