Gisele Fetterman, calling herself a strong woman, is not amused by accusations that she is pulling her stroke-injured husband’s strings.
Senator-elect John Fetterman is obviously not going to be a senator in the normal way, which has caused rather understandable consternation among conservative commentators who still can’t believe a Democratic candidate with such an advanced disability could be elected to such a high office. One of the criticisms that have been leveled is that his wife Gisele is acting as his puppeteer.
Gisele Fetterman makes it obvious who is running the show. pic.twitter.com/2puLEIFibd
— Harrison (@HarrisonKrank) November 15, 2022
Or, not just a puppeteer but possible replacement:
Gisele Fetterman (D-PA)
This is going to be a long term pic.twitter.com/yZOVtX3xU7
— Philly Politics (@MayorFishtown) November 14, 2022
Mrs. Fetterman, who has evidently had enough of it, lashed out with an accusation of her own, in an interview with the New Republic during orientation week in Washington, D.C.
Asked about how the media has portrayed her, she said:
“The right wing hates women. They especially hate strong women, and I think that’s what you’re seeing,” Fetterman said. “The fact that a spouse of a senator-elect has been attacked nonstop for the past 24 hours and everyone’s OK with it and everyone thinks it’s normal … it’s not normal.”
“Since entering the Capitol for training, my inbox has been completely filled with threats and horrible things. And that’s because I’ve been a nonstop loop on Fox News,” she added with more than a hint of bitterness and vitriol.
Fetterman, whose previous title was ‘second lady,’ having been the wife of a lieutenant governor, has been accused of being too much of a constant presence during and after the campaign that incredibly landed her husband in the United States Senate.
Exhibit A of her apparent appetite for the spotlight is this picture, which she posted to Twitter. She is posing rather ostentatiously in the center of the picture, while her husband is partially cropped out on the margin:
First day pic.twitter.com/0Gp1jvVpzk
— Gisele Barreto Fetterman (@giselefetterman) November 15, 2022
In a Washington Examiner story from last Thursday, a longtime adviser for the Senator-elect, Rebecca Katz, is quoted saying that Fetterman will not be able to answer questions in the way senators usually do, because of his condition.
A HuffPost reporter, Igor Bobic, had tweeted during new member orientation that Fetterman “didn’t answer when I asked if he’ll be able to wear his hoodie on Senate floor.”
In response, Katz, a longtime Fetterman adviser, responded, saying that there are “two things we need to get out of the way.” First, “John Fetterman has a suit and will wear it to the Capitol.” Second, “He is still recovering from a stroke and has lingering auditory processing challenges. The way Hill reporters are used to yelling questions at Senators will not work here.”
Two things we need to get out of the way:
1) John Fetterman has a suit and will wear it to the Capitol.
2) He is still recovering from a stroke and has lingering auditory processing challenges. The way Hill reporters are used to yelling questions at Senators will not work here. https://t.co/0UCe47d9QC
— Rebecca Katz (@RebeccaKKatz) November 15, 2022
It should be noted that the phrase “recovering from a stroke” is something of a non sequitur. The effects of a stroke persist without direct remedy.
Brain damage is brain damage. One never recovers from it in the way we normally understand recovery. Studies show that damaged brain matter does not regenerate and become useful again.
What is meant by recovery in stroke patients is more like retraining. With regard to muscle usage and motor skills, other parts of the brain can often be trained to do some of the things that the damaged parts used to do. Auditory processing, though, is a particularly pernicious and enduring problem when that part of the brain suffers the effects of a stroke.
So, don’t expect Senator Fetterman to start making sense. It is not likely to happen. And don’t expect Gisele Fetterman to stop seeking attention. That condition is also usually permanent.
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