Sen John Fetterman says he’s ‘not a progressive’: ‘That label left me’

Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., responded to progressive critics suggesting he wasn’t exactly who people thought he would be while he was campaigning. He added that the progressive “label” left him.

“I’m not a progressive, I just identified myself as a regular Democrat,” Fetterman said, talking to CNN’s Dana Bash. “Now, eight years ago, I was a progressive, but the situation’s changed and I‘ve been very clear that I didn‘t leave that label. That label leaved [left] me and I think it’s much more important to be focusing on Donald Trump instead of those kinds of purity tests and those kinds of issues.”

The Pennsylvania senator has been a staunch supporter of Israel and has expressed concern for border security, breaking with several members of his party on the issues.

Bash also asked Fetterman to respond to Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., who told CNN on Tuesday that President Biden was using the “same tools as Donald Trump” to address border security.

Sen. John Fetterman says the “progressive label” left him. Jack Gruber, Jack Gruber / USA TODAY NETWORK

“She’s entitled to her own opinion, but it does also seem like some of the harshest words for the president in this situation seems to be more coming from very safe, and blue, very kinds of places. Now in Pennsylvania, border security is an important issue and we do all believe that we should have a secure border, and I never thought it was unreasonable for any Democrat to want to make our border more secure,” he said.

Fetterman has said that the progressives in his party, in addition to the right, are hoping he “dies” over his stance on Israel and border security.

Fox News’ Chad Pergram spoke to Fetterman in March about his stance on immigration and Israel.

Fetterman says he’s faced intense opposition from the progressive members of the Democratic party. AP

“When you started just following the numbers that are coming again and then when you’ve reached 200,000 or 250,000 folks that are encountered at the border — I mean that’s astonishing. And then just putting that in the context of Pennsylvania. I was like, ‘Oh, my goodness. That’s nearly the size of Pittsburgh.’ And that’s our second-largest city. You can be very pro-immigration, but also demand and require that we have a secure border there as well too. I don’t know why that’s really controversial for a Democrat or any American to be pro-immigration,” he said.

In December 2023, Fetterman called on Democrats to engage on the border issue. 

Fetterman has been criticized by his Democrat colleagues for his stances on Israel and the border crisis. CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

“I hope Democrats can understand that it isn’t xenophobic to be concerned about the border,” Fetterman told Politico. “It’s a reasonable conversation, and Democrats should engage.”

The senator told Bash that President Biden would win Fetterman’s home state of Pennsylvania in 2024 just like he did in 2020, but predicted it would be a close race.

Leave a Comment