Democrat John Fetterman who is running for US Senate in Pennsylvania has repeatedly attacked his Republican opponent Dr. Mehmet Oz for his wealth, yet Fetterman, 53, was financially dependent on his parents until he was sworn in as lieutenant governor four years ago, according to a new report from Salena Zito at The New York Post.
“Fetterman’s father, Karl, is a successful businessman and founder/owner of Kling Insurance in Pennsylvania,” the report said. “Not only did Fetterman grow up in the wealthy suburb of York, Pa., his parents financially supported him and his family for the entire 13 years he was mayor of Braddock — a part-time job that paid him just $150 a year — until he was sworn in as lieutenant governor in 2019 at the age of 49. In 2015 alone, his parents paid him a $54,000 salary.”
“He lives with his wife, Gisele, and their three children, in a spacious Braddock loft that his sister purchased for $70,000 and then handed over to Fetterman for just $1,” the report added.
Last Friday, Fetterman held his first public rally since suffering a stroke on May 13. As noted by the report, Fetterman “sported his signature black hoodie with the sleeves pushed up to reveal large tattoos, as he went on to offer a comeback story that has always been his brand.”
“Three months ago, my life could have ended, but I’m so grateful to be here as well,” he said. Later joking, “There’s a lot of differences between me and Dr. Oz. Who would have ever thought that … who would ever think that I’d be the normal one in the race here?”
During a Fox News interview, Oz commented on Fetterman’s trademark hoodie and constant attempts to paint himself as an everyday guy.
“He’s a pretend populist,” Oz said. “Many folks think it’s because of the way he dresses with his hoodies and his shorts that he’s been working his whole life. It’s quite the opposite.”
“Since his stroke,” the New York Post report explained, “Fetterman has mainly been debating Oz on Twitter. He has relentlessly trolled the celebrity doctor on social media for being an elite carpetbagger from New Jersey, and recently raised half a million dollars for his campaign by mocking Oz for calling a veggie tray ‘crudité.’ He also paid to fly a plane over the Jersey Shore with a banner screaming ‘Dr. Oz, Welcome Home to N.J.!’”
On Wednesday, the two candidates argued over who is more of an everyday guy.
“I’ve never spoken to a PA resident who doesn’t know how many houses they have … let alone be off by 8. I can’t tell if he’s trying + failing to sound like a regular person (with ONLY TWO mansions) or if he genuinely has no idea,” Fetterman tweeted, referencing a report by the Daily Beast that Oz owns 10 properties even though he claimed he only had two “legitimate” houses in a recent public event.
In response, Oz defended himself by pointing out he purchased his houses with his own money, unlike Fetterman who was given his home by his sister in exchange for $1.
“I purchased my houses with MY money. You lived off your parents until you were almost 50. Regular people don’t mooch off their parents when they’re 50. Get off the couch John!” Oz tweeted.
When Fetterman was asked by The New York Post’s Salena Zito about his privileged roots, he said through text from his personal cellphone: “Look, I’m proud of my upbringing … I was on the path to be a successful businessman but I changed paths and have dedicated my life to fighting for forgotten communities.”
As explained in Zito’s report, “Since the moment Fetterman first ran for mayor of Braddock, a small steel town just nine miles from Pittsburgh, and won the race by a single provisional vote in 2005, his towering, tattooed figure has been synonymous with an ordinary hero image.”
“But for decades, that image has annoyed local Democrats, who viewed him as an outsider who had no problem upending party leaders. Fetterman jumped into a Senate primary in 2016 and nearly upset the Democratic establishment candidate only to turn around two years later and unseat a sitting lieutenant governor — who was also a member of his own party — in the primary race,” the report added.
Pennsylvania-based Democratic strategist Mike Mikus warns that Fetterman is misleading people in his attempts to portray himself as a blue-collar, everyday guy.
“The one thing people never hear much about is his upbringing and how he’s earned a living over his life. Obviously he has done good things, and that’s an important part of the story. But it’s not the whole story,” Mikus said.
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