Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman is not letting the stroke he suffered back in May slow him down—especially when it comes to roasting his Republican opponent Mehmet Oz.
The controversial doctor—repeatedly cited for quackery for profit by many within the medical profession—used Fetterman's health as a cudgel with which to attack him on the campaign trail with truly tasteless comments.
And like so many other moments with Oz during the Pennsylvania Senate race, Fetterman isn't having it.
During a recent appearance on MSNBC, he swatted away one of Oz's attacks with a perfect retort.
\u201cJohn Fetterman on #TheLastWord talking about Oz making an issue out of his stroke, "The truth is, is that I'm going to be feeling better in January, but he's going to still be a fraud!"\u201d— Sarah Reese Jones (@Sarah Reese Jones) 1665544199
Speaking of the January swearing in of new members of Congress, Fetterman told MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell regardless of his health troubles, he still has one huge advantage over Oz.
"The truth is, is that I'm going to be a lot better in January, but he's going to still be a fraud!"
Fetterman has been slowly returning to the breakneck pace of the campaign trail, recently appearing in his first TV interview since the stroke.
\u201cPennsylvania Lt. Governor and Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman sat down with @DashaBurns in an exclusive interview using closed captioning.\n\nFetterman discussed his recovery after suffering a stroke in the primaries and his race against Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz.\u201d— NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (@NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt) 1665529706
Fetterman's use of captioning devices during the NBC sit-down to aid with the auditory processing issues his stroke left him with caused some controversy, especially given reporter Dasha Burns' framing it as a reason for concern about his fitness for office.
Many have called Burns' comments disgustingly ableist.
Such attitudes could explain why so few disabled people have been elected to public office. Of those who have, the majority had mobility issues. Total or partial blindness was the only other disability noted in records of politicians who reached federal or top state offices.
But aids available today make disability—whether permanent or temporary—no longer an obstacle for most speech, hearing or processing disabilities. Demands of immediate response in the form desired as a sign of fitness for office is an ableist obstacle placed on the disabled by the abled.
Seemingly taking a page out of Fox News' playbook, Burns also called Fetterman's cognitive abilities into question, charges Republicans have run with full steam ahead.
Oz repeatedly attacked Fetterman over the topic of his health, most notably in August via a statement from his senior communications advisor Rachel Tripp in which Oz openly mocked Fetterman.
The statement read:
"If John Fetterman had ever eaten a vegetable in his life, then maybe he wouldn't have had a major stroke and wouldn't be in the position of having to lie about it constantly,"
Fetterman addressed comments like these during his MSNBC appearance as well, telling O'Donnell:
"What kind of a doctor... [is] cheering on for me not to get better.”
"... That's the difference between myself and other Senators that had strokes too, is that they don't have a doctor ridiculing it."
Fetterman reiterated this sentiment in a viral tweet in which he portrayed Oz as a clown via an ever-popular meme template.
\u201c\ud83d\udea8 Dr. Oz Fraud Alert \ud83d\udea8\n\nWhat kind of \u201cDr.\u201d even does this? I\u2019m asking because, truthfully, I don\u2019t know.\u201d— John Fetterman (@John Fetterman) 1665152079
On Twitter, many applauded Fetterman's response to Oz's tasteless comments and NBC's ableist framing of his auditory issues.
\u201cGive me a recovering @JohnFetterman over a fully \u201cfunctional\u201d @DrOz all day, every day. #pasen\u201d— Reed Galen (@Reed Galen) 1665546954
\u201c@JohnFetterman Solidarity. Wish I lived in PA so I could vote for you.\u201d— John Fetterman (@John Fetterman) 1665580890
\u201cFetterman eviscerates Oz, 1-0. \nhttps://t.co/Tn4D7RSiK9\u201d— Laurence Tribe (@Laurence Tribe) 1665563113
\u201cHe\u2019s correct. What dr would cheer it on that you had a stroke? That tells you OZ is no dr. He\u2019s a celebrity quack\u201d— \u262e\ufe0f Do the right thing (@\u262e\ufe0f Do the right thing) 1665576604
\u201c@JohnFetterman talks just fine to me!\n#FettermanIsTheBetterman #VoteBlueForSoManyReasons\u201d— Dolly Madison \u270c\ud83c\udffb\ud83c\udf3b (@Dolly Madison \u270c\ud83c\udffb\ud83c\udf3b) 1665544604
\u201cMehmet Oz is a fraud, a carpetbagger and a liar. \n\nSend John Fetterman to the Senate, PA.\u201d— Harry Sisson (@Harry Sisson) 1665339189
\u201c@Lawrence The framing of Fetterman as cognitively challenged because of his stroke ignores the twin realities he will improve rapidly while Dr. Oz is a fraud and entirely unfit for the Senate.\u201d— Lawrence O'Donnell (@Lawrence O'Donnell) 1665582440
\u201c@duty2warn 3 repubs have had strokes or heart attack in congress in the last year. They are still serving without being questioned about their recovery and abilities.\u201d— Duty To Warn \ud83d\udd09 (@Duty To Warn \ud83d\udd09) 1665580168
\u201c@JohnFetterman He should look more like Pennywise in that last frame, though.\u201d— John Fetterman (@John Fetterman) 1665152079
\u201c@JohnFetterman Recovering from a stroke in private is no picnic so I can't begin to imagine doing so under a microscope. Keep fighting the good fight for the people of PA! Send Oz back home to NJ.\u201d— John Fetterman (@John Fetterman) 1665580890
Fetterman closed his comments by saying while he is "running to serve Pennsylvania," Oz is "running to use Pennsylvania."
Fetterman made many criticisms of the fact Oz who has for years split his life between several residences—none of which are in Pennylvania—used his in-laws' Pennsylvania address in order to run for the state's open Senate seat.
Fetterman called Oz out for filming a campaign message from one of those residences, a New Jersey mansion, back in July.