Pennsylvania Democratic U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman fired back at Mehmet Oz after a senior Republican aide said Fetterman could have avoided a major stroke in May if only ate more vegetables.
“I had a stroke. I lived through it,” Fetterman said. “I know politics can be unpleasant, but even then I could never imagine ridiculing someone for having a health problem.”
The Democrat, currently the lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania, responded to the statement Insider on Tuesday by Rachel Tripp, Oz’s senior communications advisor.
Reply to Fetterman’s bullying of a video in which Oz complained about the price of crudités, Tripp said: “If John Fetterman had ever eaten a vegetable in his life, maybe he wouldn’t have had a major stroke and found himself unable to constantly lie about it.”
Fetterman, 53, suffered a major stroke in May. He returned to the campaign trail this month and discussed the issues surrounding it.
Oz, 62, is a former heart surgeon who has become a popular, if controversial, voice on daytime television. In Senate testimony in 2014, for example, he confessed promoting diet pills that don’t work.
Pennsylvania is a swing state, and its Senate race is seen as the key to determining control of the chamber. But fivethirtyeight.com to put Fetterman leads by more than 10 points, and Senate Republican leaders by a wide margin reported shift costs elsewhere.
Donald Trump endorsed Oz, but agree for Rolling Stone now thinks his candidate is “going to lose like hell” — a remark Trump dismissed.
On Wednesday, Fetterman also released a letter signed by more than 100 Pennsylvania physicians expressing “serious concern” about Oz’s candidacy.
Doctors said: “As physicians, we strongly believe in evidence-based medicine and sharing honest health information with the public.
“As a former daytime TV host, Dr. Oz exploited the hopes and fears of his viewers by promoting unproven, reckless and sometimes potentially dangerous treatments. He has made it clear that he will put his own enrichment above all else, even in cases where people’s health is at risk.”
“Dr. Oz’s investigations into the spread of misinformation and the sharing of factually incorrect medical advice on The Oz Show and otherwise are well-studied and well-documented.”
The letter refers to the British Medical Journal research and accused Oz of spreading misinformation about Covid-19.
He also raised the issue of abortion rights, which are under threat as the US Supreme Court overturned a key decision, but the threat successfully captured by Democrats in campaigns across the country.
The doctors said: “Dr. Oz … would be another vote for criminalizing abortion, and he refused to condemn attempts to ban abortion in Pennsylvania, creating a danger to the lives of women and people who may become pregnant. He even said that he was against abortion in the case of rape or incest.”
The letter concluded with a statement of support for Fetterman.
Oz tweeted on Wednesday said: “As a doctor, I saved the lives of thousands of patients. As your senator, I plan to bring the force of change to Washington that Pennsylvania desperately needs.”