Pennsylvania Republican senatorial nominee Dr. Mehmet Oz criticized Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s continued reticence to agree to debates, telling Fox News the Democratic nominee is distracting the electorate with continued quips about vegetable trays and Oz’s prior New Jersey residency.
Oz responded to remarks Fetterman made in his home county of Allegheny alongside President Biden, where he questioned Oz’s standing as the owner of multiple homes and posh surroundings, comparing it to his own in the industrial Pittsburgh suburb of Braddock, where he lives in a converted Chevrolet dealership and was formerly mayor.
Fetterman told the Labor Day crowd he is proud to live across from a steel mill.
Earlier Tuesday, outgoing Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., appeared with Oz at a press conference, and echoed the candidate in saying that politicians “cannot do the job of U.S. senator sitting at home firing off snarky tweets.”
Oz told “Special Report” it was ironic to hear Fetterman invoke steelworkers and tradesmen, given reports about his previous opposition to LNG fracking, which both Oz and the Republican nominee for governor, Doug Mastriano, have said could be a boon for Pennsylvania’s economy.
In an August statement to Fox News, a Fetterman campaign spokesman said the candidate “does not support a fracking moratorium or ban,” later adding Fetterman “has stood up to politicians to fight for U.S. Steel’s right to build fracking wells.”
Oz maintained he has not made light of Fetterman’s recent stroke despite allegations, saying that as a medical doctor, he respects and feels for patients who go through such incidents.
“I don’t know if he’s medically fit [to serve as Senator], although I’m a doctor and I probably should have an opinion on it. But the fact is that nobody knows because none of us have had access to his medical records. And frankly, that’s his decision; what records he wants to provide,” he said.
“But I think he’s insulting the voters of Pennsylvania by dodging debate. He’s dodging their questions. He’s dodging questions from the press. His campaign says he’s doing fine and he said that as well. And yet he doesn’t debate.”
Rather than pointing to Fetterman’s stroke, Oz suggested the candidate may be thus-far avoiding debates because of purported “far-left radical comments” and policy positions.
“But if he is sick, then he’s been lying to us as well. So either way, this is really not about health. It’s about honor and integrity and honesty,” he added.
Oz added that Fetterman should embrace answering tough questions from the press, saying that “democracy is built on us asking difficult questions of each other to really figure out where the truth lies – I want to be compassionate through this process.”
During his remarks over the weekend, Fetterman also repeated criticism of Oz’s recent campaign video filmed inside a grocery store, where the Republican collected various vegetables and verbally lamented each one’s inflated price – blaming Biden and Fetterman’s policies for the increase.
Oz had said his wife wanted to make “crudite” – to which Fetterman at the time responded that people in Pennsylvania just call that hors d’oeuvre a “veggie tray.”
Of Fetterman’s remarks in Pittsburgh, Oz said he wants to skip “personal attacks” and instead discuss “policies and ideology.”
“He doesn’t seem able to argue at that level, and it’s very concerning if you want to be a U.S. senator, because it’s very different to tweet out snarky comments, as Pat Toomey said, than it is to actually serve in the United States Senate. It’s a higher bar,” he said.
Fox News’ Thomas Catenacci contributed to this report.