Lest you thought you’d heard the last of the newly dress code-free Senate, Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) is leading a new letter among fellow Republicans that objects to the Sergeant at Arms’ decision to no longer enforce rules for attire in the chamber.
“Allowing casual clothing on the Senate floor disrespects the institution we serve and the American families we represent,” reads the letter, signed by 46 Republicans so far.
GOP senators didn’t mince words Tuesday when talking about their upset over the changes.
“It shows a lack of respect for the institution and for each other,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said.
“It stinks. You’ve got to depend on the majority leader or the leaders generally to uphold the traditional form of the Senate,” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said.
Asked if there was room to make the dress code more casual without ditching it altogether, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) replied: “What do you think judges should wear? Shorts and t-shirts when they’re sitting on the stand?”
“No, because we want to show respect for the institution of the judiciary,” Romney added. “Likewise, this is the government of the United States of America.”
Reality check: Republicans from Ted Cruz to Thom Tillis have occasionally voted in non-traditional Senate garb over the years, usually casting their votes from the cloakrooms.
While Democrats have played it cooler in their response to the dress code change, not everybody is on board.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) Tuesday said he spoke to Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) directly about the dress code change. Though Democratic leadership hasn’t explicitly linked the change to the caucus’ most casual dresser, the hoodie-friendly Fetterman has embraced it.
Manchin recalled telling Fetterman: “‘John, I think it’s wrong, and there’s no way I can comply with that whatsoever. And I think it basically degrades the institution.”
“I just wanted to tell him directly that I totally oppose it and I will do everything I can to try to hold the decorum of the Senate,” Manchin added.
Fetterman (who we have reported is a Manchin fan) said he doesn’t take the pushback personally.
“He just wanted to acknowledge that it wasn’t like a personal issue or anything like that. And of course, I said, ‘Absolutely. I get it,’,” Fetterman said.
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