Sen. Pat Toomey: Fetterman is Either Too Ill to Debate or He’s Afraid to Defend Radical Positions

ERIE, PA - AUGUST 12: Democratic Senate candidate Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D-PA) speaks du
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Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) said Tuesday that Democrat John Fetterman refuses to debate because either his health issues are more severe than his campaign is letting on, or he is afraid to defend his radical positions.

Toomey appeared at a press conference with Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz, who is running against Fetterman and has accepted invitations to five debates. Fetterman – who suffered a stroke in May and has struggled at events thereafter, including this week – has not committed to a single one. The candidates are vying for Toomey’s seat.

“He’s had very few public events since then,” Toomey said, referencing the May 13 stroke, “and I’ve seen videos of the ones that he’s had, and it’s obvious that he has difficulty speaking. Now, I don’t say this with any malice, I’m not mocking him, and I’m not unsympathetic.”

Toomey wished Fetterman “all the best in his recovery” but asserted the Democrat is being “dishonest,” considering he told MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle that he feels “fantastic.”

“He’s either not as well as he claims to be, or he’s afraid to be called out for the radical policies he supports. It’s one or the other,” Toomey explained, seemingly referencing Fetterman’s far-left criminal-friendly record. “So in addition to the character problem of being dishonest, if he’s really not able to debate, then there’s a big problem. “

Toomey highlighted that many politicians with disabilities are more than capable of serving their constituents but emphasized that it “depends on the nature of the disability.

“If you’re in a wheelchair, for instance, you can still be a very effective senator,” said Toomey. “If you have cancer and you’re undergoing vigorous treatment, you can still be a very effective senator. “

“But I’ve worked with senators in both parties who had seriously diminished intellectual or communication capabilities, and I can tell you, that’s a very different thing,” he continued. “It’s really hard to be an effective voice for your constituents if you can not engage that way.”

Toomey’s comments come as national media and media local to Pennsylvania are calling on Fetterman to hit the debate stage with Oz to grant voters transparency on his condition. On Tuesday, the New York Post published an op-ed entitled “John Fetterman must debate and let Pennsylvania voters decide if he’s up to the job,” which was authored by the National Review’s editor-in-chief, Rich Lowry.

Lowry pointed out that “Fetterman still has trouble speaking and has used closed captioning to help understand what media interviewers are saying to him over Zoom.”

“This is such a concern because talking (and listening) constitutes much of the job of a US senator, whether in committee hearings, on the Senate floor, in media interviews or with constituents,” wrote Lowry, echoing Toomey’s sentiments. “If his condition is anything like it is today, Fetterman would have trouble operating effectively in the Senate.”

“Indeed, Fetterman should have to show and not tell,” he added.

Lowry’s piece came hours after the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s editorial board called on Fetterman to go toe-to-toe with Oz, asserting that “[v]oters have a right to know whether their prospective senator can do the job — including handling the give-and-take of a vigorous debate.”


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