Bannon implied that Fetterman, who’s running for U.S. Senate against Trump-backed celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz, is a follower of Satan in a Gettr post on Wednesday. The remark was made while Bannon shared an article from the right-wing website The Washington Free Beacon, which alleged Fetterman was part of a “Democratic Grooming Scandal” because his family was photographed next to a person dressed as an anime character.
“Is Fetterman satanic??” Bannon wrote. “His look, his vibe, his associations … has there been anyone in the history of the country that exudes more just pure evil than this guy … the Citizens of the Commonwealth need to ask themselves—do we want someone who hangs with Satanic Groomers to represent us in the US Senate.”
Bannon’s suggestions were quickly ridiculed after screenshots of his post were shared to Twitter, a platform from which Bannon was permanently banned after suggesting that Dr. Anthony Fauci and FBI Director Christopher Wray should be beheaded.
“Pretty sure when Steve Bannon calls you ‘satanic’ that means you are winning,” former federal prosecutor Ron Filipkowski tweeted.
“To me, this just seems like clunky, self-evidently false nonsense from Bannon, and it really shows is how Republicans are scrambling to find a line of attack against Fetterman,” tweeted journalist James Surowiecki.
“Let’s not forget, Fetterman is Jewish,” comedian and actor Keith Lyle tweeted. “That’s REALLY what’s at play here. Bannon calls Jews ‘Globalists’ and while at Brietbart, would put a symbol of a globe next to a person’s name if they were Jewish.”
“It isn’t even Labor Day, and Steve Bannon has been reduced to claiming that Fetterman is in league with the Dark One,” tweeted Sarah Reese Jones of PoliticusUSA.
“Steve Bannon thinks anyone besides himself looks #SATANIC !!!” Arthur Caplan, New York University Grossman School of Medicine bioethics professor, tweeted.
“Yes there are millions of people in the country who look more “satanic” than Fetterman,” Twitter user @hvalleyqueen tweeted. “But the actual person closest to satan is, in fact, Steve Bannon.”
Texas A&M University communications professor and rhetoric expert Jennifer Mercieca tweeted that Bannon was “ginning up outrage/votes/attention by positioning someone as a hate-object (literally a Devil term here!).”
“Very anti-democratic,” she added. “Satanic groomer panic.”
“Here’s a case study in projection: Steve Bannon calls John Fetterman evil and satanic,” tweeted The USA Singers. “It’s gonna be so awesome when Fetterman is in Congress and Bannon is in prison. It can’t happen fast enough.”
“Steve Bannon calling Fetterman satanic is kind of like Keith Richards telling someone to cut down on their drinking,” user @robwoodyard1 tweeted.
“Steve Bannon, Adonis, has opinions about how other people look,” tweeted journalist Helen Kennedy.
“Steve Bannon accusing someone else of seeming ‘satanic’ and of ‘exuding pure evil.’ Yep, it’s that kind of day in Projection Land,” television writer Bryan Behar tweeted.
If Fetterman defeats Oz, the partisan balance of the Senate may also change, as the candidates are vying to replace retiring Republican Senator Pat Toomey.
Newsweek has reached out to the Fetterman campaign for comment.