Democrat John Fetterman in February: ‘Voters Deserve’ Several Debates

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman visits with people attending a Democratic Party event
AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

John Fetterman, the Democrat nominee for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, highlighted the importance of debates in February but has not officially committed to one with his Republican opponent Dr. Mehmet Oz.

In a February tweet ahead of the Democrat primary election and his stroke, both of which occurred in May, Fetterman emphasized that voters “deserve” multiple debates among the primary candidates.

“Debates are an important part of this primary,” he wrote. “We believe voters deserve no fewer than three network televised debates – including all candidates who make the ballot – before major media markets across PA.”

Fetterman suffered a stroke on May 13, days before the May 17 primary, which he won handily. The Democrat candidate has spent months recovering and appeared to struggle at campaign events in August when he hit the trail for the first time since his medical emergency.

Oz has agreed to participate in five debates, but Fetterman still has not accepted any invitations and declined to participate in what would have been KDKA’s September 6 debate. On Tuesday, the Oz campaign announced a number of snarky concessions it would make if Fetterman participated and asserted they would “pay for any additional medical personnel he might need to have on standby.”

In response, Fetterman claimed his opponent’s campaign “think[s] it is funny to mock a stroke survivor,” as Fox News noted.

“I chose not to participate in this farce,” he continued, adding he would not be partaking “in a debate the first week of September.”

The same day, he appeared on MSNBC’s 11th Hour with host Stephanie Ruhle and stated that his health was “robust.” He claimed the Oz team was “unserious” about having a debate:

Again, as I just said, this is just a sad approach at this point, because they’re trying to not focus on the condition of their campaign right now. And when they want to get into a serious conversation and really talk about having a debate, I’d be happy to engage in that. But right now, the fact that they have chosen to have a deeply unserious campaign — to just ridicule somebody that is just recovering from a stroke.

On Wednesday, the celebrity doctor’s campaign stated that a second debate would not materialize as WFMZ-TV and Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce Debate canceled a potential September 9 matchup.

Brittany Yanick, communications director for Dr. Oz for Senate, slammed the radical Democrat for “ducking” debates:

First, John Fetterman’s campaign lied about wanting to debate Dr. Oz based on some secretive “terms” that they won’t share with anyone. Now, John Fetterman says he won’t debate Doctor Oz “in the first week of September.” That’s another lie. He won’t debate Doctor Oz at all, and we all know it. The WFMZ & Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber debate makes TWO debates that Fetterman is ducking.

“We thought John Fetterman was a big tough guy, so what is he so afraid of? Is he afraid of defending his radical record of releasing murderers back on the streets? Let us know, John,” she added.


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