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By Mae Slater on
 June 10, 2024

John Fetterman Shares Stroke's Impact On Health And Political Views

Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., revealed his political transformation stemming from a near-death experience, during an appearance on "Real Time with Bill Maher" on Friday.

Fetterman discussed how recovering from a 2022 stroke influenced his political positions, demonstrating a move away from progressivism and solidifying his support for Israel.

Fox News reported that during the episode, Bill Maher commended Fetterman for his straightforwardness and his readiness to challenge the far-left faction of the Democratic Party.

Maher remarked, "When I see you, especially the last couple of years, you speak so freely."

Stroke Recovery Influences Fetterman's Views

Maher compared Fetterman's direct manner of speaking to that of politicians who have retired from office. "You speak like what politicians who I get on this show- who aren't in politics anymore, the ones who are out of office when they can be honest and that's the way you speak now and it's a beautiful thing," Maher stated.

He further suggested that Fetterman articulates the thoughts of many Democrats who are hesitant to express their true views. "You speak for a lot of Democrats that are afraid to say a lot of that stuff. I mean, it's a lot of release for a lot of Democrats to be able to be like 'Thank God, someone's actually platforming that,'" Maher said.

In response, Fetterman shared how his stroke recovery has impacted his political stances.

He referenced a quote from the first "Batman" movie, where the Joker states, "I've been dead once already. It's very liberating." Fetterman elaborated, "It's freeing in a way. And I just think after beating all of that, I just really [want to] be able to say the things that I have to really believe in and not be afraid of if there's any kind of blowback."

Progressivism and Israel Support

The conversation then shifted to Fetterman's political label. Maher asked him to explain his statement, "I'm not a progressive, I'm just a regular Democrat." Fetterman reflected on how the term "progressive" no longer applies to him, especially in light of events that occurred on October 7.

Fetterman noted, "I didn't leave the label, it left me on that. After what happened on October 7, I really knew that whole progressive stack would be blasted apart and there would not be any kind of way how the Democrats are going to be able to reply to that kind of response."

He added, "And I really decided early on that I believe that was gonna be the right side with Israel throughout all of that.... Democrats would continue to peel away and kind of walk away from standing with Israel on that."

Maher also delved into why some liberals have distanced themselves from Israel, favoring groups that oppose a two-state solution. He questioned, "How do you explain that, if you can, that the people who consider themselves the most liberal have abandoned Israel, which was always a liberal darling for the people who- the terrorist organization who outwardly say they want a genocide, who outwardly are on the one side who is against the two-state solution. Somehow, they wound up with them. Why do you think that is, and will this split the Democrat party?"

Fetterman addressed the inconsistencies within progressive Democrats, pointing out that they support entities with questionable human rights practices. "Well, it does, because there's an appeal there. I think you talked about that like last week. You really hit with the gender apartheid.... Some of the most progressive and left parts of the Democratic Party are standing for the kind of side that have kinds of organizations like Hamas or these kinds of nations that there are no rights for women and they certainly don't embrace the LGBTQ kinds of lifestyle," he said.

Fetterman further illustrated his point by recounting an incident where Queers for Palestine blocked the Pride Parade in Philadelphia. "And even in Philadelphia, the Queers for Palestine blocked the Pride Parade in Philadelphia, and I never saw that on the Bingo card," he reflected.


Overall, the interview highlighted Sen. John Fetterman's personal and political evolution, attributed in part to his recovery from a stroke.

Fetterman stressed his firm support for Israel and critiqued the current state of progressivism within the Democratic Party. He candidly expressed how his near-death experience has liberated him to voice his genuine beliefs.

In conclusion, Sen. John Fetterman's discussion with Bill Maher shed light on his changing political dynamics, emphasizing the impact of his stroke recovery on his perspectives. He openly criticized progressivism's stance on Israel and highlighted the paradoxical support within the party for groups with poor human rights records. The conversation underscored Fetterman's resolve to speak his mind and advocate for his core beliefs without fear of backlash.

Written By:
Mae Slater

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