Fetterman Calls Oz Campaign’s Comments About His Health “Unhinged” and “Irresponsible”

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the Democratic nominee for the state's U.S. Senate seat, speaks during a rally in Erie, Pa., on Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

By Ashley Adams

August 24, 2022

In the escalating battle for Pennsylvania’s open US Senate seat, a top aide for Dr. Mehmet Oz mocked John Fetterman’s diet and health. Fetterman responded, and so did more than 100 practicing physicians.

On Tuesday, a top aide for Pennsylvania’s Republican US Senate nominee Dr. Oz appeared to blame John Fetterman’s recent stroke on his diet.

“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 advisor, said in a statement to Business Insider.

Fetterman, Pennsylvania’s Lt. Gov. and the Democratic nominee in the Senate race, fired back on Wednesday, calling Tripp’s comments “unhinged” and “irresponsible.”

“I know politics can be nasty, but even then, I could never imagine ridiculing someone for their health challenges,” Fetterman said in a statement. “I had a stroke. I survived it. I’m truly so grateful to still be here today.”

Fetterman’s statement wasn’t the only response to the mocking comments from the Oz campaign. 

“Real Doctors Against Oz,” a group of 109 practicing Pennsylvania physicians, released a letter Tuesday calling out Oz for poor medical practices “by promoting unproven, ill-advised, and at times potentially dangerous treatments.”

“As a TV celebrity doctor, Mehmet Oz has displayed a shameful disregard for medical science and the wellbeing of his audience while he enriched himself at the expense of our patients. As physicians we take seriously our responsibility for the health and wellbeing of our patients,” the letter said. 

During the launch of the “Real Doctors Against Oz” campaign earlier this month, Dr. Val Arkoosh, Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, blasted Oz for his comments about Fetterman’s health.

“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, it’s disgusting,” said Arkoosh, one of Fetterman’s opponents in the early days of the Senate primary race.

Oz has yet to address the blowback from these latest comments about Fetterman’s health.

Fetterman returned to the campaign trail earlier this month in Erie. It was his first rally since suffering the stroke in mid-May. 


  • Ashley Adams

    In her 16 years in the communications industry, Ashley Adams has worn many hats, including news reporter, public relations writer, marketing specialist, copy editor and technical writer. Ashley grew up in Berks County and has since returned to her roots to raise her three children.

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