Gingrich Claims Fetterman Tattoos Praise Heroin and LA Gang

Pennsylvania Democratic senator candidate John Fetterman still leads Republican Mehmet Oz in the polls, though he recently lost support.

Fetterman’s unconventional presentation and style is among the most closely watched races in the country for the November Midterms and is a focus for the GOP.

Of particular interest are the tattoos of the former mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania, which a former senior Republican said have dubious roots.

Newt Gingrich and John Fetterman clash
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich claimed that John Fetterman had tattoos “for” heroin use or was associated with gang culture. Gingrich is seen here speaking to reporters at the US Capitol on September 22, 2022 in Washington, DC and Fetterman at the Montgomery County Community College on September 11, 2022 in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania.
LR: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images, Mark Makela/Getty Images

The claim

A tweetpublished September 30, 2022, contained an interview with former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich on Fox News. Hannywho claimed that John Fetterman’s tattoos were linked to either drug use or a Los Angeles gang.

Gingrich said, “I mean, these people are almost sick. In Fetterman’s case, of course, he had a tattoo that was either a reference to a song promoting heroin use, or a tribute to the Crips, which is a Los Angeles-based, highly violent gang that was actually in Fetterman’s hometown and worked with Fetterman in his election.”

The facts

This isn’t the first time Gingrich has attacked the Pennsylvania Democratic hopeful for his tattoos.

The former spokesperson tweeted on September 26, 2022, revealing his confusion at one saying, “I’m going to hurt you,” unaware that it was a reference to the Nine Inch Nails song “Hurt,” which was recorded in 2002 was covered by Johnny Cash.

Gingrich has further claimed that the song was “for” heroin use.

While the original version of “hurt” referred to needles, which many have interpreted as a symbol of drug use, describing heroin in laudatory terms is a mischaracterization.

Lyrics like “The needle rips a hole, the old sting” is not a romantic or celebratory reflection on heroin use, as Gingrich suggests.

In a 2005 interview with Uncut The song’s author, Trent Reznor, said when he wrote the song, “It felt like he was sitting in a pile of rubble and there was an air of regret and remorse.

“I was at a point in my life where I was really unsure if I was good or if I had something to say. The song came out of a really ugly corner of my mind and turned into something with a fragile beauty.

“Pain was the first inclination for me that I could use a hand here,” the songwriter explained.

Admittedly, Gingrich doesn’t clarify during the interview whether it’s “Hurt” or some other song he’s referring to.

The Crips reference is more obscure and part of a narrative that has recently played out among Fetterman’s critics, who seek to portray him as a criminal or gang-affiliated.

In a 2021 blog post, Fetterman wrote about his tattoos, most of which he said were related to Braddock, Pennsylvania, where he was mayor for 15 years.

One of the tattoos referred to the people “killed by violence in Braddock when I was mayor from 2005”.

While opponents claim Fetterman used a spelling of Braddock associated with the Crips in his campaign, there is no evidence his tattoos are “a tribute” to the gang, as Gingrich characterized it.

In a 2015 interview, Fetterman said he used the spelling “Braddocc,” which contained a reference to the Crips, although he explained that this had to do with his attempts to reach and engage with younger voters kick, and not to celebrate gangs.

“When I first got into town, I noticed that’s how they would spell it, and it’s a nod to ‘Crip Killer,’ they turned the ‘k’ into a ‘c,'” he said.

“So during my campaign I have [used] “Vote John Mayor of Braddock” and “Vote John Mayor of Braddock” as it’s traditionally spelled and the reason I did that is because there are two Braddocks and you have to acknowledge that.

“We have to acknowledge that this is the Braddock that only young people know, the Braddock of despair and decline, and they grew up in a time when they didn’t know there were 14 furniture stores and three movie theaters.”

Fetterman adds that this has met with some criticism. “And I got flak for it because some people thought I was spelling it like a gangster. No, there are two braddocks.”

He continued, “It’s not a glorification of gang violence or an embrace of gang violence. It’s a way of using the way they conceptualize bradock and say, ‘Look, you’ve got your bradock, and other people have their bradock.’ It doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive. We all have to be able to work together and we tried to do that.”

news week has reached out to Gingrich and Fetterman for comment.

The regulation



There is no evidence that Fetterman has or has had tattoos that either promote or favor drug use or pay “homage” to the Crips. One that Gingrich has been puzzled about before is a lyric from the song “Hurt,” while the other tattoo is related to people killed during Fetterman’s tenure as mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania.

FACT CHECK BY Newsweek’s Fact Checking Team Gingrich Claims Fetterman Tattoos Praise Heroin and LA Gang

Rick Schindler

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