Fetterman rejects progressive label, as left wing attacks him over his position on Israel and immigration

Sen. John Fetterman arrives at the Capitol on April 17 in Washington, DC.

Sen. John Fetterman arrives at the Capitol on April 17 in Washington, DC.Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

After calling himself a progressive Democrat for several years, Democratic Sen. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania is renouncing that label, as he has come under attack from the left wing of his party in recent months.

“I would just call myself a Democrat,” he told CNN’s Jake Tapper earlier this month. “And I believe that I’m on the right side of issues, whether that’s being very pro-choice, maybe that I believe that is being pro-union, and if I believe that’s pro-Israel as well, too.”

Fetterman’s comments come as he has faced attacks from the left wing of his party over his pro-Israel rhetoric amid the country’s war with Hamas and his support of the Senate immigration negotiations that progressives have rejected.

While he has recently pointed out on X that there were times during his 2022 campaign when he said, “I’m just a Democrat” and not a progressive, he owned the title when he was running for lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania in 2018.

“Progressive rhetoric is great, but progressive results are 100,” he tweeted during that campaign, asking donors to contribute to “progressive momentum” in another post.

More recently, in 2020, he jokingly responded to allegations that the Room Rater account on X is partisan, writing that although he is a “progressive Democrat,” he got a low score.

Fetterman told Tapper, “There’s absolutely different kinds of opinions in the Democratic Party, and I’ve always been very clear that I’m going to stand on the right side of what I believe it is, and I’ve been very upfront on that as well too.”

The comments come as The New York Times resurfaced remarks Fetterman made on the campaign trail, telling Jewish Insider in 2022, “I would also respectfully say that I’m not really a progressive in that sense,” in regards to far-left Democrats who were sharply critical of Israel.

The Pennsylvania senator keeps an Israeli flag and posters of the kidnapped hostages on the walls of his Senate office. During one viral moment in early November, Fetterman waved a small Israeli flag at pro-ceasefire protesters as he walked out of the Senate Russell Office Building, according to a video posted by the protestors. The video has not been independently verified by CNN.

“What is very clear is that Hamas started this, and they actually broke the ceasefire, and they attacked and murdered babies, children, women, attacked a music concert and everything,” Fetterman told Tapper. “It’s outrageous, and from now on it’s been very clear that Israel would very much want there to be peace, but they’ve made it very clear that after October 7 that’s just not possible so long as Hamas is allowed to exist.”

In a separate interview on ABC’s “The View,” Fetterman reiterated he does not support a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, “primarily because I believe that Israel has the right, but I also think it has the imperative, to destroy Hamas.” He added that he does not support any additional conditions for aid to Israel, noting, “I do think it’s also an unspoken condition that you have to minimize the suffering and the death and the damage to civilians.”

The Democratic senator has also made his opinion on the conflict clear in posts on social media, pointing out moments of antisemitism, like the harassment of a Jewish-owned restaurant in Philadelphia.

“They could be protesting Hamas. They could be protesting Hamas’ systematic rape of Israeli women and girls or demanding the remaining hostages be immediately released.” he wrote. “Instead, they targeted a Jewish restaurant. It’s pathetic and rank antisemitism.”

His opposition to the ceasefire movement has not been the only wedge between him and congressional progressives. Fetterman has said that he supports Senate negotiators’ bipartisan efforts to strike a deal on immigration policy, which has been tied to aid for Ukraine and aid for Israel. However, progressives on the Hill argue that Latinos have been excluded from the talks, and that the negotiations could lead to draconian policies.

“If roughly the size of Pittsburgh is showing up at the border, if that’s what you need to say, ‘That’s fine, that’s not really an issue,’ as a progressive, then I guess that’s why I wouldn’t be a progressive,” Fetterman told Tapper. “But I have remained, and will always be, very, very pro-immigration, perhaps as much as anybody in there.”

At a news conference earlier this month Progressive Caucus Chairwoman Pramila Jayapal argued, “Republicans are choosing to hold Ukraine funding hostage in exchange for cruel and unworkable immigration policy demands. Senate Democrats and the White House must not agree to these extreme demands.”

Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey agreed, comparing it to trying to write legislation on voting rights or civil rights without talking to Black lawmakers. He called the proposal “dead on arrival” if it makes it into legislation.

“When I read reports last night of the abhorrent immigration policy changes the Biden administration is considering, I thought I entered a time machine back to the Trump era,” said Menendez. “I couldn’t comprehend how a Democratic president, who vehemently countered Trump’s policies as a candidate, is seriously putting forward the most Trumpian, anti-immigrant proposal that President Trump could only have dreamed of accomplishing.”

Fetterman has called for Menendez’s expulsion from the Senate, over allegations that the New Jersey Democrat https://yangterbaik.com acted as a foreign agent for the Egyptian government and has accepted bribes. Menendez has maintained he’s innocent and that he will be exonerated of the charges.

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