“I can only say that I have never seen anything like it in politics,” John Fetterman told The Incline this afternoon, sounding both incredulous and irritated.
“It would have been bad enough if a tracker caught this video, but he filmed it himself and put it on his own website. How many people had to sign off on that and say, ‘This looks good, Scott.’”
Fetterman, who’s running for lieutenant governor on the Democratic ticket with incumbent Gov. Tom Wolf, was referring to a Facebook Live video posted Friday by their Republican opponent in the governor’s race, Scott Wagner. In it, Wagner, irked by the negative tone of his opponent’s political advertisements, threatens to stomp Wolf’s face with golf cleats. Yes, you read that correctly.
Here’s the statement in full:
“Gov. Wolf, let me tell you, between now and Nov. 6, you better put a catcher’s mask on your face, because I’m going to stomp all over your face with golf spikes, because I’m going to win this for the state of Pennsylvania, and we’re throwing you out of office,” Wagner said.
The comment in question can be found at the 2:25 mark:
In an email to The Incline, a spokesman for Wagner said his comments were not to be taken literally and were instead a “metaphor” for how Wagner “will approach the final stretch of the campaign.” That statement, from Wagner spokesman Andrew Romeo, went on to call Wolf a “coward” who’s “spent the entire race hiding behind false and negative attack ads … instead of debating in front of the people of Pennsylvania.”
In a response attributed to a communications director, the Wolf campaign said “Scott Wagner’s latest rant shows he is unhinged and unfit for office. Threats of violence have no place in society, especially from someone running for public office. This is part of an unfortunate pattern with Scott Wagner.”
Wolf has yet to publicly comment on Wagner’s apparent threat himself.
But Fetterman, the hulking 6 foot-8 inch tall mayor of Braddock, a former football player who’s been frequently mistaken for a pro-wrestler, is more than willing to share his thoughts.
“It’s bad enough if he said ‘I’m gonna kick his ass,’ but to say ‘Get your catcher’s mask, because I’m gonna stomp on your face … ’ Who talks like that?”
Fetterman continued, “Of course, my natural response as [Wolf’s] running mate is to want to be — not that he needs my protection — but just to push back and say, ‘That’s ridiculous.’ And let’s be honest, it’s terroristic.”
Fetterman said he and Wolf haven’t discussed Wagner’s comments, and while he felt it merited a response, he wants to avoid a tit-for-tat.
“As a person, yeah, I would want to respond to that in a comparable way, but I’m not going to sink to that kind of absurdity. It’s beyond a lack of civility.”
He added, “It feels like Scott’s campaign has been in death spiral for a while and this is kind of the supernova-like culmination of that, at least I hope it is. What do you do for an encore after threatening to stomp on the face of the governor of the fifth largest state in the nation?”