Written by Ashton Snyder on
 March 30, 2024

Fetterman's Office Sees Key Staff Exit Amid Senator's Policy Shifts

A shakeup has occurred within the office of Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA), with notable resignations recently coming from members of his communications team.

The resignations underscore a stark departure from his previously established progressive principles, reflecting internal disagreements over his recent policy positions on Israel and immigration laws, as the Washington Examiner reports

Recently, three high-ranking Fetterman communications staff members have tendered their resignations. Deputy communications director Nick Gavio announced his departure last Friday, joining earlier exits by communications director Joe Calvello and press aide Emma Mustion within the same timeframe.

The Departure of Key Figures in Fetterman's Team

The trio’s decision to leave Fetterman’s office signifies a pivotal moment, suggesting deeper ideological rifts. Gavio is now on the staff of the Working Families Party, Calvello has begun working with Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson, and Emma Mustion has moved to support Sen. Bob Casey’s re-election campaign in Pennsylvania.

Fetterman has faced criticism from within his own ranks for his positions on key issues, particularly his unequivocal support for Israel and a push for more stringent immigration policies. These stances mark a notable shift from his campaign’s original progressive ethos, which earned him endorsements from far-left figures like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and an alignment with Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign in 2016.

In a revealing December interview with NBC News, Fetterman elaborated on his views, emphasizing his commitment to Democratic principles while also advocating for positions on Israel and immigration that diverge from some of his party’s more progressive elements.

Fetterman's Ideological Pivot Sparks Controversy

"I just think I’m a Democrat that is very committed to choice and other things. But with Israel, I’m going to be on the right side of that. And immigration is something near and dear to me, and I think we do have to effectively address it as well," Fetterman said, defending his stance amidst growing discontent.

The resignations of Calvello, Gavio, and Mustion are seen by many as a reflection of a broader ideological schism, with their new roles underscoring a departure from Fetterman’s current political trajectory. Both Calvello and Gavio’s past involvement in Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential bid further highlights this ideological divergence.

Gavio expressed gratitude for his tenure with Fetterman, while Calvello lauded Mayor Johnson’s progressive credentials upon joining his administration, signaling a preference for a different political direction.

Former Staffers Appeal for a Change in Stance

In an impassioned plea, sixteen former campaign aides, identifying themselves as “Fetterman Alumni for Peace,” issued an October letter urging Fetterman to reconsider his stance on Israel’s military actions in Gaza and to advocate for a ceasefire. Their letter articulates a profound disappointment, portraying Fetterman’s position as a betrayal of the values he once championed.

“Watching the United States military apparatus beat the drum for war -- promising the Israeli government unconditional weapons support, a blank check for more destruction that will lead to the killing of more innocent Israelis and Palestinians including children -- has been heart wrenching. Watching you lead that charge has felt like a gutting betrayal,” the group expressed in their letter, highlighting the deep emotional and ideological rifts Fetterman’s current positions have caused among his former supporters.

The departure of key communications staff from Sen. John Fetterman’s office illuminates the internal strife and ideological shifts occurring within his team. Fetterman's divergence from his campaign's progressive stance, particularly on issues such as Israel and immigration, has not only led to a realignment within his staff but also prompted calls for introspection from his wider political circle.

As Fetterman navigates these turbulent waters, the impact of these changes on his future within the Democratic Party and his broader political ambitions remains to be seen.

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About Ashton Snyder

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