John Fetterman's Tattoo of Johnny Cash Song Leaves Newt Gingrich Confused

Twitter users saw Johnny Cash and Newt trending on the social media platform on Monday after former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Newt Gingrich, a Republican, questioned John Fetterman's, the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, tattoo.

"Why would Pennsylvania democratic senate candidate john fetterman have a tattoo saying 'i will make you hurt'?" read a tweet published by Gingrich.

The tattoo in question references lyrics from the song "Hurt," which was first released by Nine Inch Nails in 1994, and later covered and released in 2002 by country singer Johnny Cash.

Cash's version of "Hurt" appeared on his 2002 album American IV: The Man Comes Around, which was the last album released in his lifetime.

In 2009, Fetterman spoke with Rolling Stone and talked about the tattoos he's received, touching on the tattoo that reads, "I will make you hurt" once located on the top of his forearm before it was covered up.

John Fetterman
Above, John Fetterman is pictured at a rally he held with U.S. Congresswomen Madeleine Dean and Mary Gay Scanlon. A conversation about Fetterman's tattoo sparked a conversation on Twitter. Mark Makela/Getty Images

The magazine reported that in addition to the song lyrics, Fetterman tattooed the dates of the murders committed in Braddock, Pennsylvania, the town he served as mayor.

"That's what it does to me," Fetterman said, referring to the lyrics. "It's very personal."

Fetterman recently penned an opinion piece for NBC in which he responded to Fox News host Tucker Carlson calling his tattoos a "costume."

He said he has nine dates inked on his right forearm.

"Each one is a day on which someone died violently in Braddock, Pennsylvania, while I was mayor," Fetterman wrote. "Gun violence and violent crime might be jokes to someone like Carlson, but they are very real to people in towns like Braddock."

Fetterman, Pennsylvania's lieutenant governor, is currently embroiled in his campaign for Senate, facing off against Dr. Mehmet Oz.

Gingrich's tweet, which was posted on Sunday, prompted Twitter users to respond.

"Because it's a lyric of the song 'Hurt' and he's a fan of Nine Inch Nails or Johnny Cash who covered the NIN song?" a Twitter user suggested. "It's a lyric about a real person with real struggles who suffers from self hatred and anxiety about letting himself and loved ones down."

"Because it's a line from a song you godless tick-like hypocrite," wrote another Twitter user. "Now try to smear Johnny Cash for singing it."

"It's a reference to one of those woke effete urban emo hippy musician types you've never heard of, Newt," one Twitter user wrote. "A guy named Johnny Cash."

"Because he's either a fan of Johnny Cash or [Nine Inch Nails]," a tweet read. "Either way, why does it matter?"

"Well, he's either a Nine Inch Nails fan or a Johnny Cash fan," another tweet read. "Either way he's about 1000 times cooler than you."

Newsweek reached out to John Fetterman's campaign for further comment.

Fetterman and Oz plan to participate in one debate ahead of the November elections. Polls from early September show Fetterman has support from about 48 percent of voters while Oz has 40 percent.