Democratic Senator Rejects Progressive Label, Diverges from Left-Wing Stance on Key Issues

Sen. John Fetterman, Democratic , Pennsylvania

In an interview, Senator John Fetterman of Pennsylvania stated that he is “not a progressive,” signaling his divergence from left-wing positions on various contentious issues within the Democratic Party, as reported by NBC on Friday.

Fetterman continues to be pro-Israel following the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attacks during a time where the party’s left flank is increasingly pro-Palestinian and calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. The senator has also called for tougher immigration policy and for the resignation of Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez following his damning indictment, telling NBC News he is a Democrat who is merely “committed to choice.” “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.” Fetterman has been outspoken on the Middle East conflict, maintaining that Hamas should be condemned for its brutal attack against Israel and that the ally has a right to defend itself against the terrorist organization. The senator has also criticized his left-wing colleagues on their stance as there continues to be a rift within the party.

The senator’s comments come as Senate Republicans are aiming to attach a border deal to any legislation providing aid to Ukraine and Israel. While the senator believes it’s “not ideal” to condition such aid with immigration policy, he told NBC News that it’s still a conversation that needs to be had to crack down on the number of border encounters. “Progressives better do that because we can’t leave Israel — we can’t sell them out, and we can’t sell Ukraine out, and we have to deliver on this,” Fetterman told NBC News. “I just would very much like to get a deal to deliver this critical aid.”

Fetterman became the first senator to call for Menendez’s resignation in late September after he was indicted on allegations of bribery, fraud and extortion related to receiving lavish gifts in exchange for political sway in the upper chamber. Menendez has since refused such calls, but did temporarily step down from his role as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The senator has ramped up attacks against Menendez following the Dec. 1 expulsion of Republican New York Rep. George Santos, who was removed after being indicted for alleged fraud and campaign finance violations. Santos’ expulsion came two weeks after a House Ethics Committee report found “substantial evidence” the congressman broke the law.

“He needs to go. I don’t understand why he can be here, having expelled Santos,” Fetterman told NBC News. “But I’m sure there might be a very innocent explanation of having gold bars in your mattress and overstuffed envelopes of cash.”

Fetterman has pledged to return $5,000 in campaign donations he received from Menendez’s political action committee, New Millennium PAC, via cash envelopes. Menendez did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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