Pennsylvania Democratic Senate nominee John Fetterman said at one point during his political career that he holds a “Black Lives Matter kind of worldview” and appeared to insist that crime rates in major cities are tied to how much they “don’t embrace” the movement, calling the notion “common sense.”
Fetterman’s remarks, offered during an interview with The Pitt News in August 2016, came during his tenure as Braddock mayor after he failed to garner his party’s nomination for the Senate earlier that year.
“Let me take issue with the anti-establishment,” Fetterman said. “I never positioned myself as anti-establishment. In fact, I was the only elected official in my race, I point out. Katie McGinty never held elected office and [Joe] Sestak’s only elected office was a term, I believe, in Congress before he started running. So this idea that I was anti-establishment – I just ran on what I felt were important, common sense issues whether that was a living wage, marijuana legalization, a Black Lives Matter kind of worldview, but also a community policing.”
Fetterman, who said at the time that he did not consider his position on various issues to be “radical,” claimed it’s “common sense” that cities that “don’t embrace” the Black Lives Matter movement have higher crime rates.
“All these different issues that I ran on never felt like they were radical or very leftist, they just felt like common sense to me. It’s like, what happens if you don’t embrace Black Lives Matter? Well, you look at what happens in Baltimore, at what happens in Chicago. I mean, that’s common sense.”
Fetterman garnered criticism late last month after he claimed that ID shouldn’t be required to vote because “poorer” people and “people of color” are “less likely to have their ID.”
The now-viral clip of Fetterman, which came from a 2021 interview between him and liberal pundit Brian Tyler Cohen, featured the candidate’s perspective on why requiring universal voter ID in Pennsylvania is a bad idea. In it, he said, “In my own state they are going to pass, attempt to pass, a constitutional amendment making sure that universal voting ID – for every time you vote, not just when you sign up to vote, but every time you vote.”
Fetterman explained the alleged dark motive behind this amendment, stating it will be passed “because they understand that at any given time there’s tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians who typically are on the poorer side and are people of color that are less likely to have their ID at any one given time.”
The Democratic Senate nominee has also faced criticism over a resurfaced 2013 incident in which he pulled a shotgun on an unarmed Black jogger whom he suspected of involvement in a nearby shooting. Fetterman has since said his actions were wrong, but initially defended himself by saying he heard the sound of automatic gunfire and rushed to confront the man he suspected of being responsible. Fetterman held the man, then-28-year-old Christopher Miyares, at gunpoint. Police who arrived at the scene searched Miyares and found that he was unarmed.
Fetterman, who has served as Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor since 2019, campaigned on Monday alongside three West Philadelphia council members who have publicly supported the Black Lives Matter movement and backed calls to “defund the police.”
“Three outstanding Councilmembers who are with me in my fight to turn out every vote here in Philly Support local Black-owned businesses,” Fetterman said of the council members in a tweet.
Fetterman will face off in the November general election against Republican nominee Dr. Mehmet Oz in an effort to become Pennsylvania’s next U.S. senator.
Fox News’ Gabriel Hays and Thomas Barrabi contributed to this article.