Despite previously embracing the label, Sen. John Fetterman (D-Penn.) moved away from calling himself “progressive” amid left-wing backlash over his views on Israel and immigration.
“I’m not a progressive,” Fetterman told NBC News. “I just think I’m a Democrat that is very committed to choice and other things. But with Israel, I’m going to be on the right side of that. And immigration is something near and dear to me, and I think we do have to effectively address it as well.”
On Monday, the Pennsylvania Democrat insisted in a post on X that he had rejected the progressive label during his Senate campaign. The post highlighted a video clip from 2022 in which he was asked if he was a progressive.
“No, I’m just a Democrat that has always run on what I believe and know to be true, and six years ago, that was considered progressive,” he said.
The post quickly drew left-wing outrage—as well as a Community Note that cited multiple instances of Fetterman calling himself and his campaign progressive.
“This is such a betrayal of everyone that helped get you elected,” responded one person.
“Incredibly disappointed in you and regretting my donations,” wrote someone else.
Others online echoed the sentiment.
“Your new slogan should be ‘I’m a LIAR and I’ll trick you until believing whatever,'” replied another user along with a past example of Fetterman saying he was progressive. “Looks like your constituents will be done with you.”
Progressive commentator Mehdi Hasan accused Fetterman of being like Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.), a former Democrat who broke away from the party to become an independent after forcing negotiations and cuts along with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) on President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better signature bill.
“Fetterman going full Sinema. Totally unnecessary statement,” Hasan wrote. “And a total attack on the people who worked hard to elect him, defended him post GOP rows over his stroke and clothing etc.”
Fetterman was elected in 2022 to succeed the retiring Sen. Pat Toomey, and flipped the seat blue as a result.