Gisele Fetterman, De Facto Candidate?

Gisele Fetterman, De Facto Candidate?

Gisele Fetterman, De Facto Candidate?

As we have said repeatedly, John Fetterman’s stroke recovery is by no means a guaranteed thing. But the media is running to give him plenty of cover, and that now includes propping up his wife, Gisele Fetterman, as both campaign surrogate and “de facto candidate.”

At least, that is how Gisele Fetterman is being described by Kara Voght of Rolling Stone. She even put it in her Tweet promoting the story… until she deleted it.

Kara Voght says she deleted the Tweet because her language calling Gisele Fetterman the “de facto candidate” was “imprecise.” BUT… she left it in the story. Which just goes to show that on Twitter, no one actually clicks on the article, they just read the Tweets and the headlines. Seems like Kara told some truths, and she thinks that if she just deletes and re-words her tweet, no one will notice.

And we all know how Gisele Fetterman feels about reporters telling the truth about her husband, his stroke, or the campaign.

But back to this Rolling Stone feature. It truly is a puff piece on Gisele Fetterman, covering her childhood as a illegal immigrant from Brazil to “SLOP” – Gisele’s acronym for her role as “second lady of Pennsylvania.”

“I had no idea who a second lady was or what her role was,” she told me during an interview in Philadelphia later that day. “I’m like, ‘How do I make this role relatable and accessible?’ So ‘SLOP’ was born.”

Indeed, “SLOP” was never the plan. “I’ve always hated politics,” says. As a former undocumented immigrant from Brazil, standing in the spotlight runs counter to years of warnings her mother gave her to “be invisible.” Over 15 years of marriage to Fetterman, she was content using the platform his offices afforded as an extension of the career she’d built helping the needy — like when she opened the pool at the lieutenant governor’s residence to the public, so children without water access could learn how to swim.”

Then her husband had a stroke four days before the primary for the U.S. Senate. Suddenly, the reluctant political spouse became the de facto candidate. “I just had to survive, I just had to go,” she says of that time. Did she consider asking John to step out of the race? “It wasn’t my decision to make,” she says. “If you have the ability to make lives better, then it’s your duty to do so. And if he has the green light from every doctor, then I support that.”

So, if John Fetterman has “the green light from every doctor,” then why is Gisele Fetterman “the de facto candidate”? We all know why. We have all watched the Fetterman campaign went through a long process to first cover up the severity of the stroke, to claiming that recovery was happening at a brisk pace, to defending the need for any accommodations, to calling people “ableist bigots” who would deny people glasses or wheelchairs for noticing John Fetterman’s cognitive issues. And the polls are reflecting that. Real Clear Politics has shifted so much that the Pennsylvania Senate race is now considered a “toss up” and projecting a “GOP hold.”

And a look through Gisele Fetterman’s Twitter history puts the lie to her lack of desire to be in the “spotlight.”

Here is her acceptance speech on the night of the primary. This doesn’t look like someone who “hates politics” and would rather be anywhere but behind a microphone.

And yes, this Rolling Stone puff piece paints a pretty and glowing picture of “SLOP.”

Gisele is most things her husband is not. John prefers to keep to himself; Gisele loves talking to people and normalizing public crying. His voice is low and gruff; hers is melodic, like a Disney princess. He almost exclusively wears hoodies and gym shorts; she dresses up — a habit leftover from her Brazilian upbringing, “but I think I upped it because he was so underdressed.” On the day we met, John had taken the rally stage in jeans, a rarity; she wore a long black floral dress and knee-high snakeskin boots with bright red lipstick, her long black waves of hair falling halfway down her back.”

“His campaign would be so boring without me,” she jokes now. But her contributions in those early days were serious. She was responsible for updating a desperate press corps on her husband’s condition, often with her characteristic optimism that belied the severity of it. She threaded the needle on “gotcha” questions from cable news networks — like the one CNN lobbed at her after the primary about whether or not her husband was still “a progressive” after backing away from the title. “Whether you voted for him or not, he wants to be a senator for all of Pennsylvania,” she told the network. She attended political events in her husband’s place, like the opening of campaign offices for Pennsylvania Democrats or a rally for gun violence. When the campaign needed someone to rally volunteers, Gisele stopped into the Zoom to give them a pep talk.”

Kara Voght actually compared Gisele Fetterman to a Disney princess? (insert vomit emoji here) So, the Disney princess of progressive Pennsylvania is the “de facto candidate.” But is that what voters want?

Gisele Fetterman’s name is not on the ballot. While she has more fully embraced her inner Edith Wilson than, say, Jill Biden, it is JOHN Fetterman who is going to have to stand on the debate stage on October 25th. Gisele Fetterman will be a bystander, unable to run interference or act as “de facto candidate” for her husband. The media is admitting out loud that John Fetterman can’t do the job. They’re just hoping people will be distracted if they put the focus on Gisele Fetterman instead.

Featured image: Gisele Fetterman via Governor Tom Wolf’s Flickr account on August 13, 2020, cropped, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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  • Scott says:

    Well, as an illegal, she obviously perfected her ability to lie. One more reason we should secure our borders, vs offering all sorts of benefits to those who break our laws to come here.

    Lying criminals.. the perfect democrats, minimal training required

  • 370H55V I/me/mine says:

    Nah, the PA Dems will go to the mat and close ranks behind Fetterman to gain the seat. He’ll stick it out in office for a few months for appearances sake, and then resign, explaining that it wouldn’t be fair not to provide Pennsylvanians with the vigorous representation they deserve in DC. And then Gov. Josh Shapiro will appoint PA’s first female senator anyway:

  • Jeff A. says:

    Following in the footsteps of Hilary Clinton:
    Step 1: Find a guy with political aspirations
    Step 2: Hitch yourself to him
    Step 3: when he gets where he’s going, take over

  • F.D.R in Hell says:

    Damn scary political shenanigans going on in Pennsyltucky.

    P.S. I resent being compared to that blockhead in a hoodie.
    Penn Live can kiss my skinless pelvis.

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