Pennsylvania Democratic Senate hopeful John Fetterman turned his stroke into a joke Thursday night during a behind-closed-door fundraiser with President Joe Biden in Philadelphia.
The nominee, who suffered a stroke in May, took the opportunity to challenge his rival, Republican candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz, who was backed by Donald Trump.
‘Dr. Oz never makes me forget I had a stroke,” noted Fetterman, 53.
Oz often questions Fetterman’s health in campaign stump appearances and in campaign ads. Their competitive race could decide which party controls the Senate after November’s midterm elections.
Fetterman turned to question Oz’s medical credentials.
“Ask yourself: What kind of doctor is there for a person who is sick to stay sick,” he said. “Sometimes I’ll miss a word or sometimes I’ll put two words together.”
“I will feel much better in January, but Dr. Oz will still be an impostor,” he added.
“He’ll say anything for a dollar, he’ll say anything for a vote.”
Pennsylvania Democratic Senate hopeful John Fetterman turned his stroke Thursday night into a joke during a closed-door fundraiser with President Joe Biden — above the two men at the Pittsburgh airport on Thursday
John Fetterman’s race with Republican candidate Mehmet Oz (above) could decide which party controls the Senate next year
Fetterman easily won the Democratic Senate primary in May, despite suffering a stroke a few days earlier.
But his medical condition has now become a major issue in the Senate race.
On Wednesday, after failing to commit to it before, Fetterman released a new doctor’s letter saying he still had some problems with “auditory processing” but that his “communication has improved significantly.”
An NBC interview last week showing how Fetterman used captioning renewed attention on his stroke. The captions transcribed the interview in real time to help him understand the questions presented to him.
On Thursday, Fetterman dropped his signature hoodie and wore a suit to spend the day in Pennsylvania with the president.
The two men visited the site of a collapsed bridge in Pittsburgh to talk about the infrastructure funds coming to the state.
They also made a stop at Primanti Brothers in Moon Township—a must-see nearby sandwich shop—before heading to Philadelphia for the fundraiser.
Fetterman joked about his medical condition as he spoke to Democrats at the fundraiser event. Some reporters were allowed in, but cameras were not.
“I’d like to address the elephant in the room and it’s not because I’m wearing a suit,” he said. “But as you know I had a stroke. I had a stroke in May.’
He said he wanted to deny he had a stroke and go ahead with his scheduled event, but “luckily they got me to the hospital quickly.”
“I really had to think about mortality and all these things. It’s really shocking,” he said.
About his race with Dr. Oz, where the GOP candidate has approached him in the polls, Fetterman said: “It will be close.”
He asked the crowd, “Please send Dr. Oz back to New Jersey and send me to DC to get that 51st vote.”
President Joe Biden meets with Democratic Senate hopefuls John Fetterman and Gisele Fetterman at the Pittsburgh airport on Thursday
President Joe Biden (left) shakes hands with workers at a Primanti’s in Moon Township, on his way back to the Pittsburgh airport, as he is joined by Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman (center) and his wife Gisele (right)
President Joe Biden also warned of the consequences if Democrats fail to retain control of the Senate.
Speaking to Democrats at the fundraiser, Biden warned, “If we lose this election outside the year, we’re in real trouble. America is at a real turning point.”
And he got a few shots at Fetterman’s rival, Dr. oz.
He noted that Oz went to high school in Delaware, but “Delaware was smart enough to send him to New Jersey.”
Oz “is for undoing everything we’ve done,” he noted.
He also reiterated his criticism that much of the Republican Party are “MAGA Republicans” loyal to Trump.
“We need to remind people what the Republicans are for, this new Republican party. This isn’t your father’s Republican Party,” he said.