Fetterman's Staff Caught Doctoring His Words To Make Him Sound Coherent

May 18, 2023

Staffers for Sen. John Fetterman (Pa.) sent a doctored version of the Democrat's remarks to a Washington Post reporter, who faced backlash for posting the misleading quote, which in reality was incoherent.

Economics reporter Jeff Stein posted the quote from the Pennsylvania senator, who suffered a stroke one year ago and struggles to speak coherently, on Twitter before deleting it and apologizing.

"Yesterday I tweeted this quote, provided to me by the Senator’s office, without checking it against the video," Stein tweeted on Wednesday. "That was my fault. Though it captured his meaning, I deleted the tweet since some of the words in the quote were inaccurate."

The text of the quote shared by Stein was clear and fluent. Stein posted that Fetterman asked ex-CEO of Silicon Valley Bank Greg Becker, "Shouldn't you have a working requirement after we bail out your bank? Republicans seem to be more preoccupied with SNAP requirements for hungry people than protecting taxpayers that have to bail out these banks."

The real quote, Fox News reported, was nothing close to the edited version provided by Fetterman's office.

"The Republicans want to give a work requirement for SNAP," Fetterman said. "You know, for a uh, uh, uh, a hungry family has to have these, this kind of penalties, or these some kinds of word—working uh, require—Shouldn’t you have a working requirement, after we sail your bank, billions of your bank? Because you seem we were preoccupied, uh when, then SNAP requirements for works, for hungry people, but not about protecting the tax, the tax papers, you know, that will bail them out of whatever does about a bank to crash it."

It's not the first time Fetterman's staffers have covered up his incoherent remarks with corrected transcripts, Fox News reported:

The office [in April] quoted Fetterman as saying, "I'm really excited about Whole-Home Repairs. Here in Pennsylvania, one of my friends, Nikil Saval in the Senate, shepherded it. And he got linked up with the Republicans and they actually created one of the first kinds of a program like this in the nation.

"I come from a community here, in Braddock, Pennsylvania, where your home can go bad really quickly. And I’m really excited that we can take something like that, which is happening in Pennsylvania, and take it federal."

However, according to the linked clip, Fetterman's words differed significantly.

"I'm really excited by it, because here in Pennsylvania one of my friends really [inaudible] it, Nikil Saval, he was one of the literally — quite literally — as hard left as a politician I'm aware of — you know — certainly in the Senate," Fetterman says. "Um, he really helped shepherd that. And he got linked up with the Republicans, and he actually created the first kind of a program like this in the nation, you know. And one of my colleague — Mr. Vance — talked about well if there's a leak in the ceiling, what if you don't have the money to fix that? What can happen to that, kinda things?

The media have long covered for the senator and framed his health struggles as a strength. In an MSNBC interview earlier this month, host Joe Scarborough asked Fetterman if he gets "inspiration from people like Lincoln" who "fought" depression and "changed the world."

CBS News last month asked the senator during an interview whether he has ambitions for a White House run.