Fetterman said his recovery is more important while Oz’s campaign continued to mock his health.
Democratic US Senate candidate John Fetterman has announced he will not participate in a debate proposed by his opponent, Dr. Mehmet Oz, at the beginning of September.
Fetterman said he is continuing to recover from a stroke he suffered in May and still working to improve his auditory processing and speech skills.
“My recovery may be a joke to Dr. Oz and his team, but it’s real for me,” Fetterman said in a statement.
On Tuesday, Oz’s campaign again mocked Fetterman’s health situation, releasing a list of concessions, such as a bathroom break, Oz would make if Fetterman would agree to the debate.
“Today’s statement from Dr. Oz’s team made it abundantly clear that they think it is funny to mock a stroke survivor. I chose not to participate in this farce. Any sense that these “challenges” were done in good faith is damaged.”
Earlier this month, a top aide for Oz mockingly linked Fetterman’s stroke to 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 fired back, calling Tripp’s comments “unhinged” and “irresponsible.” He wasn’t the only person to respond to the disparaging remarks.
“Real Doctors Against Oz,” a group of 109 practicing Pennsylvania physicians, released a letter 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.
“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.
Fetterman returned to the campaign trail earlier this month in Erie. It was his first rally since suffering the stroke in mid-May.
Fetterman said that once his health improves he would engage the Oz campaign in discussions regarding a debate.
“I will not be participating in a debate the first week of September, but look forward to having a productive discussion about how we can move forward and have a real conversation on this once Dr. Oz and his team are ready to take this seriously.”