This story originally appeared on WESA.
Republican Senate candidate Mehmet Oz called out his opponent Democrat John Fetterman for not answering questions at public events during a press conference in Pittsburgh Friday.
At the end of the press conference, Oz took six questions from reporters over 12 minutes.
Fetterman suffered a stroke in May and says he still has auditory processing issues that make it difficult to answer questions in chaotic environments. Fetterman hasn’t held a press conference since his stroke and has only done a handful of media interviews with friendly outlets, according to Oz.
Oz was joined in Pittsburgh by U.S. Senator Pat Toomey, who said he thinks Fetterman is using his health as an excuse to avoid transparency. “John Fetterman is doing more to avoid scrutiny than any candidate for statewide office I’ve ever seen or heard of,” Toomey said. “For the most part, he doesn’t do campaign events. He doesn’t do press conferences. And we know he’s certainly not interested in debates.”
Fetterman’s campaign, in turn, criticized Oz for holding a media event in Pittsburgh without inviting the public. “Once again, Oz could not even muster up enough supporters to do a public event in Pittsburgh, because he knows no real voters would show up to hear him speak,” said Joe Calvello, a spokesperson for Fetterman’s campaign. “John is holding massive rallies across the state, regularly drawing over 1,000 Pennsylvanians.”
Oz reiterated during the press conference that he does not support any federal laws that would restrict abortion. Although he personally believes there are only three situations in which an abortion should be allowed, he thinks the decision should be left up to the states. “I trust local medicine; local values should drive these difficult decisions,” he said.
Oz tried to clarify how his support of a 2018 law, which released federal prisoners early, would differ from Fetterman’s approach to releasing state prisoners early as chair of the Board of Pardons. “The 2018 reform bill was to address issues that were fundamental to how criminal justice was being administered,” Oz said. “And it did not involve someone saying, ‘Hey, listen, yes, this man, for example, stabbed his girlfriend’s mother to death with scissors.”
When it comes to his Republican counterparts, Oz said he is more focused on what they believe. He supports his Republican gubernatorial candidate, Doug Mastriano, even though Mastriano has refused to speak to the press. “I endorse people based on what they claim as their values,” he said.
“I do ask each of you, however, to ask any candidate who’s not answering questions, the questions you’re asking me, the ones that are appropriate for them,” Oz said. “It’s the only way we can shine a light on what people really are going to be able to do when they’re serving us.”