Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) made a significant break with his own party this week after several major disagreements with left-wing activists. The senator criticized what he described as a double standard by Democrats regarding Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) as compared to the expulsion of Rep. George Santos (R-NY).
Fetterman’s comments came as part of an NBC News interview, where he declared that he was “not a progressive.”
NEW: John Fetterman breaks with the left — fiercely supporting Israel and endorsing talks for tougher immigration laws.
“I’m not a progressive,” Fetterman tells @NBCNews, brushing back critics.
He’s hitting Dems for a double standard on Santos/Menendez.https://t.co/bUNugi3s54
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) December 15, 2023
The senator also called for Menenedez’s ouster, saying in the interview that “he needs to go.” The senator added that he believed it didn’t make sense to remove Santos but allow Menendez to stay in the Senate.
“But I’m sure there might be a very innocent explanation of having gold bars in your mattress and overstuffed envelopes of cash,” he said.
The Pennsylvania Democrat earlier described a colleague as more like a senator from Egypt, rather than New Jersey. Menendez is accused of taking hundreds of thousands of dollars of payments from the Middle Eastern nation.
In addition, Fetterman broke with much of his party on the topic of immigration. While he described himself as pro-immigration, he also called for stricter border security. He cited the hundreds of thousands of individuals encountered by law enforcement on the U.S.-Mexico border.
“To put that in reference, that is essentially the size of Pittsburgh, the second-largest city in Pennsylvania,” he said.
“I just think I’m a Democrat that is very committed to choice and other things,” he said. “But with Israel, I’m going to be on the right side of that. And immigration is something near and dear to me, and I think we do have to effectively address it as well.”
Fetterman upset a number of pro-Palestinian activists by waving an Israeli flag during a protest. In addition, the senator also arrived at another demonstration draped in the Israeli flag.
The senator has been among the most stalwart defenders of the Jewish state since the Hamas terrorist attacks on Oct. 7 which killed more than 1,200 people.
Fetterman has notably bristled at activists calling for a cease-fire by the Israeli government