Gisele Fetterman, the wife of Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman, campaigned over the weekend with several defund the police activists who promoted a bail fund that helped release a man accused of trying to assassinate a Kentucky politician.
Gisele Fetterman on Sunday posted a photo of herself during an American Indian Impact event in Philadelphia, posing alongside “Top Chef” star Padma Lakshmi, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., and Meena Harris, the niece of Vice President Kamala Harris. A video later tweeted by John Fetterman, Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor, showed his wife alongside “Scandal” star Kerry Washington urging voters to turn out for the midterm elections on Tuesday.
Lakshmi, Jayapal, Harris and Washington have all vocally supported the Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police movements.
“It is completely reasonable for us to shift significant resources from law enforcement and investing in people,” Jayapal declared during an NPR interview on July 16, 2020.
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“To everyone in my mentions policing my language, let me clarify: Defund the police,” Harris tweeted April 15, 2021.
Lakshmi and Washington have also promoted the Louisville Community Bail Fund, a group founded by Black Lives Matter (BLM) Louisville that went on to pay the $100,000 bond in February 2022 for BLM activist Quintez Brown after he was accused of trying to shoot Craig Greenberg, a Democratic Louisville mayoral candidate.
“We need to step up and support our Black brothers & sisters. Link in bio to donate to the Louisville Bail Fund,” Lakshmi posted on Instagram on May 31, 2020, during the George Floyd unrest.
“We can’t just post an MLK quote and call it a day, folks. We need to back it up: Louisville Bail Fund @bailfundnetwork,” Lakshmi tweeted May 20, 2020.
“If you can please donate to those fighting for justice,” Washington wrote on May 30, 2020, linking to the Louisville Community Bail Fund.
“We must put resources towards community-led solutions, not a system that continues to kill us and put us in cages,” Washington wrote on Facebook on June 8, 2020. “I stand with the people on the ground across the nation. [Like] if you’re with us. #InDefenseofBlackLife #DefundThePolice #BlackLivesMatter”
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John Fetterman, who is running against Republican Mehmet Oz, has tried to distance himself from the once-popular left-wing rallying cry of defunding the police and right-wing attacks that he’s soft on crime.
Fetterman has said he actually wants to “fund” the police and that “they’re the most important tool to make the street safer.” But on Saturday, he and former President Barack Obama campaigned with Democratic U.S. House candidate Summer Lee, who has advocated for defunding the police and abolishing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
“This is not a new fight or a new tactic,” Lee tweeted in December 2020. “It’s come to this precisely bc all other demands have been disregarded.”
Fetterman campaign spokesperson Joe Calvello touted Fetterman’s record on crime when he served as mayor of Braddock.
“Unlike Dr. Oz, who was living in his gated community mansion in New Jersey until just last year, John has actually taken on crime as mayor of Braddock and partnered with law enforcement to make our communities safer,” Calvello told Fox News Digital in a statement. “John was a hands-on mayor who worked side-by-side with local police, so he knows the challenges they face and will always support them with the funding they need. John would often patrol with officers and helped bring grants to Braddock to fund police needs, including surveillance cameras.”
“John’s record has earned him the endorsement of the Guardian Civic League, the organization that represents the Philadelphia Police Department’s Black officers, and leaders like Montgomery County Sheriff Sean Kilkenny,” Calvello continued.
“It’s Dr. Oz who opposed the American Rescue Plan that provided hundreds of millions in public safety funding across PA and prevented cuts to law enforcement services, and who now supports the radical Rick Scott Plan that would hollow out federal law enforcement and defund federal aid to local police,” he said.
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Fetterman, a progressive candidate who chairs the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons, often talks about wanting to put an end to state law that requires mandatory life sentences without parole for those convicted of second-degree murder, and his voting record on the board shows he has successfully supported the release of at least 10 people who were convicted of murder in the first degree.
Fetterman’s campaign has repeatedly defended the lieutenant governor’s approach to clemency cases, saying his record has been “widely praised by Democrats and Republicans alike.”