After Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidate Mehmet Oz’s campaign mocked John Fetterman for having a stroke earlier this year, the Democrat said he would never want to “ridicule someone for their health challenges.”
“I had a stroke. I survived it. I’m truly so grateful to still be here today,” Fetterman wrote on Twitter late Tuesday. “I know politics can be nasty, but even then I could *never* imagine ridiculing someone for their health challenges.”
His tweet came after Rachel Tripp, a communications adviser for Dr Oz’s campaign, told Business Insider: “If John Fetterman had ever eaten a vegetable in his entire life, he might not have had a massive stroke and wouldn’t be in the position of having to lie about it all the time.”
Tripp was responding to a question about an infamous Dr Oz video from earlier this month.
Dr. Oz was filmed in a grocery store in Pennsylvania shopping for ingredients for crudité, which is typically a plate of sliced vegetables, in an attempt to show rising grocery prices due to inflation.
But many mocked Dr Oz for holding the vegetables with his bare hands and for seeming out of touch with the larger population. He also mixed up the names of Redner’s and Wegman’s grocery stores and said Wenger’s.
Fetterman had also mocked Dr Oz for the crudites video and raised nearly $500,000 on it.
He had tweeted: “To honor Dr Oz’s love of crudités and Wegners (and also because it’s my birthday), we’re launching this NEW limited edition sticker.”
“Make a donation of any amount + it’s all yours,” the Democrat had said, adding: “Because it’s actually just a vegetable tray.”
He had included a link to a page on fundraising platform ActBlue, which is seeking donations for his campaign, saying in part: “We can’t wait to send you your Crudité sticker, friend.”
Fetterman suffered a stroke in May, shortly before the Democratic Senate primary to replace retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey.
While Fetterman beat Representative Conor Lamb and state lawmaker Malcolm Kenyatta, Dr Oz won a close and narrow primary against hedge fund managers Dave McCormick and Kathy Barnette.
On social media, many users criticized the mocking tone used by Dr Oz’s campaign.
One commenter wrote: “Whether you agree with someone or not, mocking their health issues is disgusting and irresponsible. Most Americans know a stroke survivor and know that the last thing they need is a millionaire TV “doctor” taunting them. Dr Oz should be ashamed of himself and his campaign.”
Another user wrote: “Very disgusted with the rhetoric coming out @DrOz campaign in recent days. As a nurse, I see health advocates fighting for people with health challenges, not denigrating them. PA deserves better than Oz.”