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John Fetterman tells Maher that near-death experience ‘freed’ him to speak out, says progressivism ‘left me’

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Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., appeared on “Real Time with Bill Maher” and explained his political evolution since being elected, insisting that progressivism “left me.”

“Real Time” host Bill Maher began the interview, Friday by showering the freshman senator with praise for repeatedly bucking the far-left wing of the Democratic Party. 

“When I see you, especially the last couple of years, you speak so freely,” Maher told Fetterman. “You speak like what politicians who I get on this show- who aren’t in politics anymore, the ones who are out of office when they can be honest and that’s the way you speak now and it’s a beautiful thing.”

“You speak for a lot of Democrats that are afraid to say a lot of that stuff.  I mean, it’s a lot of release for a lot of Democrats to be able to be like “Thank God, someone’s actually platforming that.” 

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John Fetterman on "Real Time"

Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., explained his political evolution during his appearance on “Real Time with Bill Maher.” (Screenshot/HBO)

The liberal comedian then asked Fetterman whether his shift in various policies had anything to do with his recovery from his 2022 stroke, asking if his near-death experience had given him a “freedom.”

“Absolutely,” Fetterman responded. “There’s a line from the first ‘Batman,’ Joker’s like ‘I’ve been dead once already. It’s very liberating.'”

“It’s freeing in a way. And I just think after beating all of that, I just really [want to] be able to say the things that I have to really believe in and not be afraid of if there’s any kind of blowback.”

Maher then asked him to explain what he meant what he stated last year “I’m not a progressive, I’m just a regular Democrat” and how he separates himself from progressivism. 

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Fetterman in Senate hallway wearing black sweats

Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., has been repeatedly attacked by the far-left wing of his party for his ongoing support for Israel. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

“I didn’t leave the label, it left me on that,” Fetterman said. “After what happened on October 7, I really knew that whole progressive stack would be blasted apart and there would not be any kind of way how the Democrats are going to be able to reply to that kind of response… And I really decided early on that I believe that was gonna be the right side with Israel throughout all of that…. Democrats would continue to peel away and kind of walk away from standing with Israel on that.”

“How do you explain that, if you can,” Maher interjected, “that the people who consider themselves the most liberal have abandoned Israel, which was always a liberal darling for the people who- the terrorist organization who outwardly say they want a genocide, who outwardly are on the one side who is against the two-state solution. Somehow, they wound up with them. Why do you think that is, and will this split the Democrat party?”

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Student protesters gather in protest inside their encampment on the Columbia University campus

Fetterman agreed with Maher that the Israel-Hamas is dividing the Democratic Party. (AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah)

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“Well, it does, because there’s an appeal there,” Fetterman responded. “I think you talked about that like last week. You really hit with the gender apartheid…. Some of the most progressive and left parts of the Democratic Party are standing for the kind of side that have kinds of organizations like Hamas or these kinds of nations that there are no rights for women and they certainly don’t embrace the LGBTQ kinds of lifestyle.”

“And even in Philadelphia, the Queers for Palestine blocked the Pride Parade in Philadelphia, and I never saw that on the Bingo card,” Fetterman quipped. 


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