Bad Medicine: Doctor Granting Fetterman Clean Bill of Health Is a Campaign Donor

Dr. Clifford Chen has given tens of thousands of dollars to Democrats, including Fetterman

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October 19, 2022

John Fetterman’s campaign is citing a political donor’s note as proof that the Senate hopeful has a clean bill of health.

In a letter released by Fetterman’s team, Dr. Clifford Chen said Fetterman has "significantly improved" following his stroke and "can work full duty in public office." The campaign released the letter—which it called a "medical report"—following calls from media outlets for the Pennsylvania Democrat’s health records.

Chen’s political leanings could raise questions about his medical assessment of Fetterman, whose race against Republican Mehmet Oz could determine which party controls the Senate. According to campaign finance records, Chen has given tens of thousands of dollars over the years to Democratic candidates and party committees. He contributed $1,330 to Fetterman’s campaign, including a $500 donation in June 2021, before he became Fetterman’s doctor. Chen donated to other Senate candidates running in close races this cycle, including Rep. Val Demings (D., Fla.) and Sen. Raphael Warnock (D., Ga.).

"This isn’t about politics," Fetterman campaign spokesman Joe Calvello told the Washington Free Beacon. "It’s an independent, detailed medical report written by John’s primary care doctor based on his latest office visit from last week."

Fetterman initially downplayed the severity of his stroke and has struggled to speak clearly and process sound during campaign events and interviews. Fetterman’s stroke was caused by a heart condition he was diagnosed with in 2017 but failed to disclose until after his health scare.

Fetterman’s supporters have gone on the attack amid questions about his health. His wife Gisele Fetterman said there should be "consequences" for an NBC News reporter who grilled Fetterman last week about his recovery and his reliance on closed-captioning to conduct interviews. She also blasted the Washington Post editorial board last month over a piece asserting that Fetterman had "squandered credibility" by refusing to release his medical records. Gisele Fetterman said the reliably liberal newspaper published the story for "clicks."

Chen said in the letter he has been in routine contact with Fetterman’s neurologist and cardiologist about his recovery.

"Overall, Lt. Governor Fetterman is well and shows strong commitment to maintaining good fitness and health practices. He has no work restrictions and can work full duty in public office," Chen wrote.

Chen did not respond to a request for comment.