Head of Republican Party mocks speaking abilities of Fetterman, Biden

Head of Republican Party mocks speaking abilities of Fetterman, Biden

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Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel on Thursday mocked the speaking abilities of Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate who is recovering from a stroke, and President Biden, who grew up with a stutter.

McDaniel was interviewed by syndicated radio host Hugh Hewitt about news that Biden and Vice President Harris plan to appear at a political event in Philadelphia on Friday intended to boost Fetterman and other Pennsylvania Democrats on the ballot.

“No one wants them except a doomed campaign,” Hewitt said, suggesting that Democrats around the country have asked Biden and Harris to stay away.

“I do not underestimate what the triple toxicity politically of those three can do,” Hewitt, a Washington Post contributing columnist, continued. “I hope there are cameras and microphones, because you put those three together and they could say anything, Ronna.”

“Well, maybe they can get a full sentence out,” McDaniel replied.

Pennsylvania Senate candidates Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) and Mehmet Oz (R) squared off in their first and only debate in Harrisburg, Pa., on Oct. 25. (Video: JM Rieger/The Washington Post)

McDaniel indicated that she agreed with Hewitt about the undesirability of campaigning with Biden and Harris, speculating that Fetterman “draw the short straw.”

“I think all the candidates got together and said, ‘Which one of us has to campaign with Biden?’ [Fetterman] drew the short straw,” McDaniel said.

She added, “So Biden said, ‘Between the two of us, we may be able to finish a full sentence.’ ”

Fetterman, who suffered a near-fatal stroke in May, is locked in a tight race in Pennsylvania with Republican Mehmet Oz, the celebrity physician.

During a debate Tuesday night, Fetterman at times stumbled over his words and spoke in a halting manner.

During a television appearance Thursday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) suggested that Fetterman’s performance should give voters pause.

“Even those Democrats on CNN were embarrassed of who their nominee was and the capability of carrying out the job,” McCarthy said. “This is a big job in the Senate.”

McDaniel is not the first prominent Republican to mock someone with a disability. During a 2015 campaign appearance, Donald Trump mimicked a reporter with a congenital joint condition that limits movement in his arms.

The campaign of Hillary Clinton sought to use images of Trump doing so against him in campaign ads.

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