The Lead

Fetterman enlists Santos to send a video message to Menendez

By: - December 4, 2023 5:21 pm

Sen. Bob Menendez. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Michael Schwenk)

The campaign of U.S. Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) paid ousted Congressman George Santos of New York to record a video taunting Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ). The video appeared on the Cameo platform, where celebrities record short videos for a fee, typically for fans.

“I thought my ethically-challenged colleague @BobMenendezNJ could use some encouragement given his substantial legal problems,” Fetterman wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “So, I approached a seasoned expert on the matter to give ‘Bobby from Jersey’ some advice.”

In the video, Santos, who was expelled from the House last week by colleagues by a 311-114 bipartisan vote after a federal criminal indictment and a damning report from the House Ethics Committee, speaks directly to the camera:

“Hey Bobby, look, I don’t think I need to tell you but these people that want to make you get in trouble that want to kick you out and make you run away, you make them put up or shut up you stand your ground, sir,” Santos says in the video. “And don’t get bogged down by all the haters out there, stay strong! Merry Christmas.”

Fetterman was the first to call for Menendez to resign from Congress after the New Jersey Democrat was indicted on charges he took cash, gold, and gifts in exchange for using his political influence to help associates. After Santos was expelled, Fetterman said during an appearance on TV talk show The View that Menendez did not belong in the Senate either.

“Senator Menendez needs to go, and if you are going to expel Santos, how can you allow somebody like Menendez to remain in the Senate?” Fetterman said.

Makena Kelly of WIRED first reported on Monday that Santos was on Cameo, charging $200 per video. The Santos Cameo to Menendez was paid for with Fetterman campaign funds, a source confirmed to the Capital-Star, and cost $343.20.

Monday was not the first time the Fetterman campaign used Cameo to irk an adversary. In July 2022, the campaign enlisted Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, from the reality TV show Jersey Shore to record a Cameo message for Fetterman’s Republican opponent Mehmet Oz. The Fetterman campaign had repeatedly maintained that Oz lived not in Pennsylvania, but in New Jersey.

“I know you’re away from home and you’re in a new place, but Jersey will not forget you. I just wanna let you know,” Polizzi said in the video to Oz. “I will not forget you and don’t worry because you’ll be back in Jersey soon. This is only temporary.”

Update: This article was updated shortly after publication to include the cost of the Cameo video.


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Kim Lyons
Kim Lyons

Kim Lyons is a veteran western Pennsylvania journalist who has covered people and trends in politics and business for local and national publications. Follow her on Threads @social_kimly