Oz aide mocks Fetterman’s stroke in escalation of crudité tiff
Republican Pennsylvania Senate candidate Mehmet Oz’s campaign is taking a jab at Democratic opponent John Fetterman after the lieutenant governor’s campaign ridiculed — and raised money off of — a video showing the GOP hopeful shopping for groceries while complaining about the price of crudité.
“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,” Rachel Tripp, Oz’s senior communications adviser, said in a statement, which was first reported by Insider.
The statement was criticized by Fetterman in a tweet on Tuesday evening.
“I had a stroke. I survived it. I’m truly so grateful to still be here today,” he said. “I know politics can be nasty, but even then, I could *never* imagine ridiculing someone for their health challenges.”
On Tuesday, Fetterman’s campaign released a letter signed by more than 100 Pennsylvania doctors warning against Oz’s candidacy. In an event promoting the letter, Val Arkoosh, a physician who ran in the Democratic Senate primary earlier this year, slammed Oz’s comments.
“No real doctor, or any decent human being, to be honest, would ever mock a stroke victim who is recovering from that stroke, in the way that Dr. Oz is mocking John Fetterman,” Arkoosh said.
At issue was a video made in April that showed Oz grocery shopping as he sought to make the case that inflation was making items such as asparagus, broccoli, guacamole and salsa more expensive. In the video, he referred to the store name as “Wegners,” an apparent combination of Wegmans and Redner’s.
Oz also referred to the items as crudité, which Fetterman mocked, saying in a tweet, “In PA we call this a… veggie tray.”
Fetterman’s campaign said it had raised more than half a million dollars off the viral video within a day, including more than $65,000 from a sticker that has the phrase “Wegners: Let them eat Crudite” on it.
The produce-centric tit-for-tat comes as Fetterman’s campaign seeks to portray Oz as a carpetbagger from New Jersey who is out of touch with Pennsylvania voters.
Oz’s team, meanwhile, has sought to show Fetterman as inauthentically engaging with voters on the ground, at one point sending out a “basement tracker” update of the Senate hopeful.
Fetterman suffered a stroke in May, keeping the Democrat off the campaign trail for several months.
The Senate race, one of many that could determine control of the currently 50-50 upper chamber, has become one of the most closely watched in the nation.