Donald Trump Jr went on a vicious rant targeting Senator John Fetterman at CPAC on Friday, accusing Pennsylvania voters of electing a “vegetable” following the defeat of his father’s propped-up celebrity TV doctor.
Mr Trump Jr gave a short speech to the CPAC main stage around noon on the second day of the conference, taking a break from the podcast tapings he had been relentlessly recording out in CPAC’s media corridor.
The former president’s son dismissed the idea that he was being ableist and joined Republicans who have posited that the towering Pennsylvania senator is somehow being forced to serve by staffers whom he employs.
“Pennsylvania managed to elect a vegetable. They criticise me as being ableist. I didn’t know what that was. But there’s always an ‘ist’. It doesn’t matter what you’re talking about. And apparently an ableist is someone who discriminates against those with disabilities,” complained Mr Trump Jr.
“I’d love for John Fetterman to have, like, good gainful employment. Maybe he could be, like, a bag guy at a grocery store. But, like, is it unreasonable for me to expect, as a citizen of the United States of America, to have a United States senator have basic cognitive function?” he asked.
The insulting remarks are nothing new for Republicans, who have seethed publicly about Mr Fetterman’s victory since November. The GOP headed into the 2022 midterms brimming with confidence only to witness a number of Trump-endorsed candidates fail spectacularly, costing their party a chance at a Senate majority while Democrats nearly managed to hold on to the House of Representatives as well.
Dr Mehmet Oz was the face of that failure in Pennsylvania, where the well-funded celebrity TV doctor spiraled out into defeat after a series of gaffes by his campaign – which ranged from the candidate appearing, on camera, to not know which grocery store he was standing inside, to similarly toxic comments about Mr Fetterman’s stroke recovery from the downright caustic communications team of the GOP candidate.
Surprisingly, Republicans seemed to have learned little if anything from their embarassing defeats in Pennsylvania and elsewhere; refusing to acknowledge the obvious weaknesses of their candidate, Mr Trump Jr and others have resorted to insulting voters for their choice to support a man recovering from a stroke.
Mr Fetterman was sworn in to Congress in January and since has checked in to Walter Reed Medical Center for treatment of clinical depression, a condition which he has faced for years.