Republican senators slam relaxed dress code, demand Schumer reverse changes

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A group of 46 Republican senators sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Tuesday asking to restore the Senate dress code.

Schumer secretly sent the directive to the Senate’s sergeant at arms on Sunday before announcing that senators would be permitted to wear casual clothes on the floor. The change is widely seen as an accomodation for Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., who prefers to go to work in loose-fitting shirts, hoodies and gym shorts. 

The Republicans, led by Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., say the rules change on behalf of one senator who despises suits disrespects the institution.

SUSAN COLLINS JOKES SHE WILL ‘WEAR A BIKINI’ TO THE SENATE WHILE SLAMMING DRESS CODE CHANGES

Democrat Pennsylvania Sen. John Fetterman

Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) arrives for the “AI Insight Forum” at the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on Sept. 13, 2023 in Washington, D.C. (Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

“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 world watches us on that floor and we must protect the sanctity of that place at all costs,” the letter states.

“Allowing casual clothing on the Senate floor disrespects the institution we serve and the American families we represent. We the undersigned members of the United States Senate write to express our supreme disappointment and resolute disapproval of your recent decision to abandon the Senate’s longstanding dress code for members, and urge you to immediately reverse this misguided action.” 

SENATE’S NEW RELAXED DRESS CODE COULD IMPACT CONFIDENCE, PRODUCTIVITY OF LAWMAKERS, EXPERT SAYS

Chuck Schumer with hands up

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., conducts a news conference after the senate luncheons in the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, June 21, 2023. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

The letter was signed by almost every GOP senator except for Sens. Mike Braun, R-Ind., Katie Britt, R-Ala., and Josh Hawley, R-Mo. 

Fetterman celebrated the dress code change on Tuesday, telling The Hill, “America … it’s about freedom and choice.” 

“It’s like Burger King ‘You Rule’ kind of thing,” he said. 

RESURFACED VIDEO SHOWS FETTERMAN VOWED TO FOLLOW SENATE DRESS CODE IF ELECTED

John Fetterman in his office

Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) is photographed in his office on June 22, 2023 in Washington, D.C. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

However, Republicans have derided the lower standards. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, joked Monday that she would “wear a bikini” on the Senate floor, which would actually be permitted since the dress code would not be enforced. She said the change “debases the institution.” 

“Obviously, I’m not going to wear a bikini,” Collins told reporters. “But the fact is, as I understand it, I could!”

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Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters Tuesday that no one in the Republican conference plans to dress down for work.

“I think I’m pretty safe in saying most if not all Republican senators think we ought to dress up to go to work. So I can’t imagine that we’re going to be wearing jeans on the Senate floor anytime soon,” McConnell said. 

Fox News’ Brandon Gillespie contributed to this report.



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