Is a Staff Exodus Underway for Sen. John Fetterman?

News & Politics

We’ve been covering the recent changes in Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) recently with a fair share of amusement. Though I don’t delude myself into thinking that he has become a moderate, his positions on a few key issues have put him at odds with the majority of his party. 

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Even though several of his Democrat colleagues, including Joe Biden, have caved to the antisemitic wing of the party, Fetterman has been a steadfast supporter of Israel since the October 7 Hamas terrorist attack. 

He’s also been outspoken about the border crisis. He’s even called for border security and criticized his party for resisting talking about it. “I hope Democrats can understand that it isn’t xenophobic to be concerned about the border,” Fetterman said last year. “It’s a reasonable conversation, and Democrats should engage.”

Fetterman even called for Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) to resign or be expelled following his indictment last year. “Senator Menendez, he needs to go,” Fetterman told the hosts of “The View” in December. “And if you are going to expel Santos, how can you allow somebody like Menendez to remain in the Senate?”

Related: How Long Before Democrats Turn on John Fetterman?

Now, Fetterman’s office is experiencing some conspicuous turnover, as all three of his top communications staffers have jumped ship. “Nick Gavio, who was deputy communications director, will leave the office at the end of March to take a new role with the Working Families Party,” reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Fetterman’s former communications director, Joe Calvello, left earlier this month to work for Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson. And Emma Mustion, a press and digital aide also left Fetterman’s office to work on the reelection of Sen. Bob Casey.”

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Gavio and Calvello, two veterans of Bernie Sanders’ 2020 campaign, and Fetterman’s Senate campaign, offered nothing but nice comments about their new jobs. But Clout doesn’t believe in coincidences, and it seems relevant that both are going to more progressive spaces, given that Fetterman has recently made a big deal of denouncing that ever-nebulous political label.

Fetterman has alienated some of his supporters on the left with his defense of Israel’s war against Hamas and his criticism of cease-fire activists. His office did not comment on the departures but chief of staff Adam Jentleson said the office has already hired replacements.

Gavio said he is grateful for his time with Fetterman and is “extremely proud and excited” to become Mid-Atlantic communications director for the Working Families Party, overseeing the party’s expansion into statewide and regional contests.

Staff turnover isn’t necessarily uncommon, but less than a year into a term is rather conspicuous. Is this the start of a mass exodus by leftist staffers who have decided they can’t work for Fetterman anymore? Perhaps; in December, Fetterman declared he was “not a progressive.” 

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In fairness, he is. He only has a 10% lifetime conservative score, according to Heritage Action for America’s conservative scorecard, which is only slightly better than the average Senate Democrat, which is 4%. He also voted with Joe Biden 97% of the time in 2023. But, like with Sens. Manchin and Sinema, it only takes a few select examples of independence to get under the skin of the radical left.

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