John Fetterman, the Democratic nominee for an open Senate seat in Pennsylvania, rejected Mehmet Oz’s offer to hold their first debate next week, saying the GOP candidate's campaign thinks "it is funny to mock" his recovery from a stroke.
“I’m eager to put my record and my values up against Dr. Oz’s any day of the week," Fetterman, the lieutenant governor, said in a statement Tuesday evening. "As I recover from this stroke and improve my auditory processing and speech, I look forward to continuing to meet with the people of Pennsylvania."
Fetterman added that a list of debate "concessions" from Oz's campaign team earlier in the day "made it abundantly clear that they think it is funny to mock a stroke survivor."
The Oz campaign said it would "pay for any additional medical personnel" Fetterman might need to have on standby, in addition to permitting him bathroom breaks and allowing him to have all of his notes on hand, along with an earpiece to obtain answers from his staff.
“My recovery may be a joke to Dr. Oz and his team, but it’s real for me,” Fetterman said.
Oz, the celebrity TV doctor, formally challenged Fetterman, the Democratic front-runner, to five debates this month to boost his chances of catching up with him, while highlighting Fetterman’s health challenges months after he suffered a stroke.
Brittany Yanick, a spokesperson for Oz, responded to Fetterman's decision not to debate by calling Fetterman "a liar, a liberal, and a coward.”
"Ok, so when will he debate?" she added. "He won’t ever say — not even in his latest whiny statement."