WASHINGTON — Republicans on Monday ridiculed Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's loosening of the upper chamber's dress code that will allow for recreation-like clothing on the Senate floor.
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia called the relaxed rules “terrible,” South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said he’s “not a big fan,” and Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa simply said, “It stinks.”
The candid reviews of the new rules, which went into effect Monday, even included mockery from Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who joked to reporters that she planned to “wear a bikini” on Tuesday.
“I think there is a certain dignity that we should be maintaining in the Senate, and to do away with the dress code, to me, debases the institution,” Collins added.
Sen. Tommy Tuberville, who once coached football at Auburn University, joked that he would don a “coaching outfit” the next time he appears on the Senate floor.
“It bothers me big time,” Tuberville said of the amended dress code. “You got people walking around in shorts, that don’t fly with me.”
The rule change will allow Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., to wear his trademark hoodie and shorts on the Senate floor. Fetterman, a first-term senator who has often been seen wearing casual clothes around Capitol Hill following treatment for clinical depression this year, wore a suit to his swearing-in ceremony in January.
"Aren’t there more important things we should be talking about rather than if I dress like a slob?" Fetterman said in an interview on MSNBC.
Some Republicans took advantage of the rule change with different wardrobes on the Senate floor.
Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri walked onto the floor in jeans and cowboy boots to vote. Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski lingered for a bit longer on the floor in her “travel clothes,” which included black pants, a quarter zip and sneakers.
“I would not normally wear this on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday,” Murkowski said. “I mean, it’s a respect thing, it’s like going to church in your jeans, or going to a funeral in jeans.”
“I’m not so hung up on things to think that every single day a man needs to wear a necktie,” she added.
Democrats, meanwhile, appeared largely unbothered by the change.
When asked if he was likely to change his attire, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois joked: "Probably, beret and sweatshirt.”
Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, a self-described "styling guy" who will often vote from the edge of the Senate floor while wearing clothes he'll travel home in, said the relaxed rules were unlikely to change things for him.
“We be styling,” Tester said. “I don’t think it changes anything for me.”
Frank Thorp V reported from Washington, Zoë Richards reported from New York.