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The lieutenant governor — who bills himself as a progressive friend of the working class — survived for his 13-year tenure as mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania, thanks to his parents’ money. Fetterman, age 52, was elected in 2006 and left the position in 2019 after being elected to his current position. In 2015 alone, his parents gave him $54,000, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. As mayor, Fetterman received a $1,800 salary. For his part, Fetterman has stated that his family’s generosity allowed him to serve the public.
Joe Calvello, a campaign spokesperson, defended Fetterman, telling the Philadelphia paper, “John has spent his career rolling up his sleeves and fighting for forgotten people and communities in Pennsylvania.”
Calvello pointed out that Fetterman gave up working at an insurance company early in his career to pursue public service.
“He has dedicated his life to public service and helping others,” Calvello said, according to the Inquirer. “John had a good job with a good paycheck, but gave it up to focus on serving the forgotten communities in Pennsylvania.”
Republican critics say that Fetterman is a phony — despite the public image that he has crafted.
“John Fetterman is not who he seems to be. He is a sheep in wolf’s clothing,” David Urban, a Pennsylvania Republican strategist, told the Inquirer. “Nobody’s ever laid a glove on him.”
In reaction to the story, Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) tweeted, “Fetterman’s problem isn’t that he’s a lazy socialist who lived off his parents until he was *50.* His problem is he supports 100% of Biden’s policies that caused inflation & record high gas.”
Fetterman's problem isn't that he's a lazy socialist who lived off his parents until he was *50.*
His problem is he supports 100% of Biden's policies that caused inflation & record high gas. https://t.co/K7SRvoop8D
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) August 3, 2022
The lieutenant governor also purchased a residency from his sister for just $1. His sister first purchased the loft for $70,000, The Inquirer revealed.
During the campaign, the Democratic nominee has also come under fire for using taxpayer money for a vacation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite the Pennsylvania Department of Health warning against non-essential travel, the lieutenant governor and pro-COVID lockdown advocate used taxpayer funds for a Jersey Shore family getaway three months into the coronavirus pandemic.
Records obtained by the Washington Free Beacon show Fetterman’s security detail spent $3,500 for overtime, food, and lodging from June 24-27, 2020 in Ocean City, New Jersey.
Fetterman’s family vacation came two days after Governor Phil Murphy (D-NJ) announced a crackdown on maskless beach goers amid a spike in COVID-19 cases at the time.
Calvello confirmed the vacation to The Washington Free Beacon but emphasized he never claimed reimbursement for travel expenses. Calvello added that Fetterman had cut spending on travel, food, conferences, and office supplies during his first two years as Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor.
“John and his family do take modest summer vacations like many folks in PA,” Calvello told the Free Beacon.
Calvello said Alleghany County, where Fetterman lives, “was not in lockdown.”
Fetterman is facing off against GOP senate nominee Dr. Mehmet Oz, a multi-millionaire, in the general election.
Brandon Drey contributed to this reporting.