Longtime PA Dem silent on support for freshman 'Squad' member after his name is quietly removed from site

Longtime Pennsylvania Democratic Sen. Bob Casey’s office has remained silent on whether the powerful Keystone State lawmaker still endorses freshman Squad member Rep. Summer Lee in light of backlash over her rhetoric on Israel.

Fox News Digital reached out to Casey’s Senate office, press secretary, chief of staff and campaign repeatedly this week to see if the Democratic lawmaker endorses Lee in 2024, but received no responses.

Pennsylvania will again serve as a key battleground state this election cycle as former President Donald Trump and President Biden are anticipated to face a rematch in a state that narrowly voted for Trump in 2016, and elected Biden in 2020 at a 1.17% margin.

Casey is also anticipated to have a difficult election campaign this year as he defends his seat for the fourth time. His lack of response on whether he endorses the left-wing congresswoman and Squad member could mean a deepening divide between progressive Democrats and their more moderate counterparts over stances on the war in Israel.


WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 25: U.S. Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA) speaks during a news conference on health care September 25, 2017 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Patient groups gathered on Capitol Hill to urged to reject the Graham-Cassidy health care bill. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Last week, a news report surfaced detailing that Lee, who was first elected to represent Pennsylvania’s 12th congressional district in 2022, removed Casey’s name from a section on her campaign website that communicates to super PACs and other outside political groups that they could include his endorsement in political ads. The section of the website is known as a “red box,” and is used by political candidates to work around rules prohibiting political groups from directly coordinating with a campaign.


Jewish Insider reported last week that as recently as March 7, Casey’s name was included within the “red box” section on Rep. Lee’s campaign site, but has since been removed and replaced with Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries’ name and endorsement.

BALTIMORE – MARCH 2: Rep. Summer Lee, D-Pa., speaks during House Minority Whip Katherine Clarks news conference with freshman women of the 118th Congress at the House Democrats 2023 Issues Conference in Baltimore, Md., on Thursday, March 2, 2023. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images) (Getty Images)

“In her first year in office, Congresswoman Summer Lee has worked with the Biden Administration to deliver $1.2 billion dollars in investments (see video) to Allegheny and Westmoreland counties to improve transportation, create green jobs, clean our air and water, and expand affordable housing. That’s why she’s endorsed by the Democratic Party, Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Pennsylvania AFL-CIO State Labor Council, SEIU and Planned Parenthood,” a section of the red box on the campaign website reads as of March 19.

Fox News Digital reached out multiple times to Lee’s congressional office, chief of staff, press secretary and campaign for comment on why Casey’s name was removed from that section of the website, but did not receive any responses. Lee’s office also did not comment on questions regarding whether Casey endorses Lee’s 2024 run and if the name removal was related to the war in Israel.


Casey’s name is still listed among a large swath of local and national political figures on Lee’s official endorsements page on her website, alongside Lee’s fellow Squad members such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Progressive Caucus chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal.

(L-R) US Representative Summer Lee, Democrat of Pennsylvania, embraces US Representative Rashida Tlaib, Democrat of Michigan, as US President Joe Biden delivers the State of the Union address in the House Chamber of the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on March 7, 2024. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Lee’s district is located in southwestern Pennsylvania, and includes Pittsburgh and much of Allegheny County. Pittsburgh is home to a large Jewish community, and where the 2018 mass shooting at the synagogue Tree of Life killed 11 people and wounded six others during Shabbat morning services.

Lee has come under fire in recent months from pro-Israel groups and the Jewish community for her rhetoric on the war in Israel, including an open letter signed by dozens of rabbis condemning Lee for her “divisive rhetoric” they said has been “perceived as openly antisemitic.”

Jewish community leaders in the Pittsburgh area have taken issue with Lee calling for a ceasefire shortly following the war beginning in Israel, for voting against a resolution backing Israel and condemning Hamas in October, as well as agreeing to attend a Muslim advocacy group’s event this month before backing out.

The March letter was also signed by a handful of rabbis in Lee’s neighboring district, which is represented by Democratic Congressman Chris Deluzio. Fox News Digital reached out to Deluzio’s campaign and congressional office this week asking if he endorses Lee’s 2024 campaign, but did not receive comment back.

“Chris Deluzio has been awfully quiet when it comes to Summer Lee’s extreme antisemitism, and that’s unacceptable. Why won’t Deluzio say a word while Jewish groups in his own district are speaking out against her?” National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Mike Marinella told Fox News Digital of Deluzio.

Previous media reports detailed that powerful pro-Israel lobbying group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, had worked to recruit a candidate to challenge Lee this election cycle over her Israel stance, after spending $5 million against her campaign in 2022, the Intercept reported. Shortly following the outbreak of war in Gaza, Lee joined fellow left-wing lawmakers in calling for a ceasefire in October, while President Biden and other Democrats pledged support to Israel as it battled Hamas.


In January, AIPAC tweeted a message that tagged Lee, fellow Squad members Reps. Jamaal Bowman and Cori Bush and others, stating “a Ceasefire Now keeps these monsters armed and in power.” AIPAC is the largest pro-Israel PAC in the nation, and is expected to spend $100 million this election cycle against candidates they believe are not sufficiently pro-Israel, Politico reported earlier this month.

That same month, three top House Democrats – Jeffries, Whip Katherine Clark and Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar – endorsed Lee’s re-election.

UNITED STATES – JANUARY 31: Rep. Summer Lee, D-Pa., participates in the House Oversight and Accountability Committee organizing meeting in the Rayburn House Office Building on Tuesday, January 31, 2023. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images) (Getty Images)

“A civil rights champion, advocate for organized labor and the first Black woman to represent Pennsylvania in Congress, Summer Lee has worked tirelessly to deliver for working families,” the three leaders said in a statement in January.

The removal of Casey’s name from the “red box” page on Lee’s campaign website could outline a growing divide within the Democratic Party amid the war in Israel.


Casey has long been a Pennsylvania Democratic stalwart, first winning his election to the U.S. Senate in 2007. The Casey name also has deep roots in the state, with Bob Casey Sr., the senator’s father, serving as the Keystone State’s governor from 1987 to 1995, following years of serving in various other elected roles.

This year, Casey is facing an anticipated closely-watched and uphill battle to hold onto his seat – which the longtime senator even conceded in an interview with NBC News last month. The Cook Political Report lists Casey’s seat as “leans Democrat,” while Casey’s 2024 race has repeatedly been listed as a must-watch this election cycle, as his seat could flip red.

PHILADELPHIA, PA – NOVEMBER 05: (L-R) Actress Debra Messing, U.S. Sen Bob Casey (D-PA) recording artist Katy Perry and Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greet supporters during a get-out-the-vote concert at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts on November 5, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. With three days to go until election day, Hillary Clinton is campaigning in Florida and Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

“It’ll be a close, tough race,” Casey said last month. “But look, there’s a lot on the line every time. Every time I’ve run for public office in Pennsylvania, I’ve had to earn the vote and the trust of the people. And I got to do that, again.”


Casey is expected to face off against Republican Dave McCormick following the state’s primaries. McCormick is an Army combat veteran and former CEO of hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, who served as the Commerce Department’s Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security as well as Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs under former President George W. Bush’s administration. His wife, Dina Powell, also served under former President Donald Trump’s administration as Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategy.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dave McCormick meets with Israeli officials.  (Dave McCormick Campaign / Fox News Digital)

McCormick last month called for Lee’s “immediate resignation” while trying to rally Casey to join him in the demand in a video posted to X. The video message came in response to outrage over Lee agreeing to appear as a speaker for a fundraiser hosted by the Philadelphia chapter of Muslim advocacy group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Lee ultimately canceled her appearance, following backlash, saying the cancelation was intended “to prevent the Muslim community from being the target of any more politically motivated Islamophobia and to ensure my Jewish and LGBTQ+ constituents know their concerns are heard.”

McCormick has long been calling out Lee’s rhetoric on Israel, including right after the war began in October, when Lee claimed Israel bombed a hospital in Gaza – which was a narrative promoted by outlets such as the New York Times in October, before the Times backtracked and said it “relied too heavily on claims by Hamas.”

McCormick called on Casey to rescind his endorsement of Lee in a comment to Fox News Digital.

“Summer Lee has been sowing the seeds of antisemitic hate as Hamas brutalizes the Israeli people. For Senator Bob Casey to sit idly by as she fails to stand up for Pittsburgh’s Jewish community, which she’s supposed to be representing, is dangerous. Casey needs to rescind his endorsement of Lee immediately. You can’t fight antisemitism and support Summer Lee,” McCormick told Fox News Digital this week.

McCormick also addressed the report detailing how Lee’s campaign quietly removed Casey’s name from the “red box” section of the campaign website in a tweet last week, saying Casey should “come out and rescind his endorsement” of Lee, but is instead taking the “say-nothing, do-nothing” approach.


A recent Emerson College Polling/The Hill survey found McCormick is closing in on Casey, at 41% support to Casey’s 45%. The same poll found Trump has 47% of Pennsylvania voters compared to Biden’s 43%.

Casey came under fire from police groups this week, when a pro-defund the police group, Indivisible Philadelphia endorsed the Senator. Folcroft Deputy Police Chief and Delaware County FOP Lodge 27 President Chris Eiserman held a press conference on Wednesday, where he slammed Casey for aligning himself with the progressive group, while pledging his support for McCormick in the election.

“At a time when there were four shootings in four days on our local public transit system, and law enforcement across the Commonwealth is understaffed, Casey’s decision to align himself with these defund the police activists is alarming and extremely dangerous,” Eiserman said Wednesday.

Casey’s campaign office did respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment regarding Indivisible Philadelphia’s endorsement this week, saying the senator has provided needed tools to law enforcement, while going after McCormick.

“Senator Casey has delivered hundreds of millions to fund bulletproof vests, SWAT gear, police cars, and ballistics shields for officers, and has worked alongside law enforcement to address threats like fentanyl trafficking,” campaign spokesperson Maddy McDaniel said. “David McCormick went against law enforcement when he opposed a border deal that was supported by border patrol, and he spent his career investing for the Chinese government, which is now teaming up with Mexican cartels to pump fentanyl into Pennsylvania. We can’t trust him to prioritize our safety — only his bottom line.”

The campaign office did not address whether Casey agrees with Indivisible Philadelphia’s support of defunding the police in favor of funding social workers or medical professionals to handle certain public safety issues.

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 15: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C), stands with members of the U.S. Senate, (L-R), John Barrasso (R-WY), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Robert Casey (D-PA), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Bob Menendez (R-NJ) and John McCain (R-AZ), during a meeting at the U.S. Capitol on February 15, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The More than 40 rabbis and Jewish leaders in the Pittsburgh area who published the open letter this month condemned Lee for what they said was her failing to come through on a promise to “call out antisemitism and temper your own language.”


“Last fall we wrote to you with concerns about your rhetoric and votes in relation to the events of October 7 in Israel, the subsequent war and the rise in antisemitism in America,” the rabbis and Jewish leaders wrote in the letter. “You graciously agreed to meet with us, and in that meeting you promised us that you would call out antisemitism and temper your own language.”

“Sadly, three months later, you have not followed through on those commitments,” they wrote. The letter stated Lee has “continued to use divisive rhetoric, which, at times, we have perceived as openly antisemitic.”

Lee is facing a Democratic challenger in the primary, which will be held on April 23, before the general election on Nov. 5.

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