PA Dem Pushed COVID Lockdowns During Taxpayer-Funded Jersey Shore Vacay, Records Show

Senate candidate John Fetterman took $3,500 trip to Ocean City, N.J., in June 2020

Pennsylvania lieutenant governor John Fetterman (D.) / Getty Images
July 6, 2022

Pennsylvania lieutenant governor John Fetterman (D.) took a taxpayer-funded security detail on a family vacation to the Jersey Shore while publicly advocating strict coronavirus lockdowns.

Pennsylvania state police spent $3,500 for overtime, food, and lodging during Fetterman’s trip to Ocean City, N.J., from June 24-27, 2020, according to records obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. Fetterman, the Democratic Senate nominee for Pennsylvania, made the trip amid a surge of cases in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Department of Health warned at the time against nonessential travel. New Jersey’s governor threatened to crack down on Jersey Shore revelers because of a spike in cases there two days before Fetterman’s junket.

Fetterman has aggressively pushed lockdowns, masking, and other measures to fight the pandemic. He vowed in March 2020 that he and his family would "stay at home, minimizing social interactions and trips to indoor public places." He criticized "a small, tiny minority" of anti-lockdown protesters in May 2020, and said "renegade counties" in his state had caused COVID-19 outbreaks by violating his administration’s stay-at-home orders. He also said school closures, which have caused learning and behavioral setbacks for school kids, were "an absolute necessity" in the fight against the virus.

Fetterman campaign spokesman Joe Calvello acknowledged the vacation but said that Alleghany County, where Fetterman resides, "was not in lock down" at the time of the trip. He said Fetterman has never claimed reimbursement for travel expenses and that he cut spending on travel, food, conferences and office supplies during his first two years in office.

"John and his family do take modest summer vacations like many folks in PA," Calvello told the Free Beacon.

A LendingTree study found that 88% of Pennsylvania residents canceled their vacations in 2020 because of the pandemic.

Fetterman’s security detail stayed during the 2020 trip at the Port-O-Call hotel, the "premier resort" where the Fettermans appear to have stayed during other vacations. While Fetterman did not post photos during the 2020 jaunt, as he did in other years, he was reportedly spotted maskless on the Ocean City boardwalk with his wife during the trip. Fetterman has been an avid supporter of universal-masking requirements during the pandemic. He urged people to "stay home," "stay apart," and mask up. He joins an extensive list of Democrats who have violated their own masking or social distancing policies.

State police spent $1,149 on security during Fetterman’s family vacation from July 5-8, 2021, according to state records. The Fettermans visited Ocean City again last month, as Fetterman was recovering from a near-fatal stroke that has kept him off the campaign trail since the middle of May.