Gisele Barreto Fetterman, the wife of Democratic Pennsylvania Sen.-elect John Fetterman, dismissed criticism of her as right-wing attacks fueled by sexism and blamed Fox News for driving the attacks, according to The New Republic.
Fetterman became her husband’s spokesperson after he suffered a stroke in May, drawing widespread criticism over the perception that she would be doing her husband’s job for him if he became a senator.
“The right-wing hates women. They especially hate strong women, and I think that’s what you’re seeing,” she recently told the outlet. “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.”
Gisele Fetterman was born in Brazil and moved to the U.S. at 7 years old; she lived here illegally until 2004 and became a citizen in 2009, according to the Fetterman campaign site. She has three children with John Fetterman.
“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 non-top loop on Fox News,” she said. “Hopefully it’s not like this forever … and hopefully it’s not like this for the next young Latina or person of color or spouse who enters this space.”
Questions about John Fetterman’s mental capabilities following his stroke, along with suggestions that Gisele Fetterman will really be calling the shots when her husband becomes a senator, have come from both sides of the aisle, however.
A Rolling Stone article called Gisele Fetterman the “de facto candidate” for her husband’s Senate race in a since-deleted tweet, apparently suggesting Fetterman would be doing her husband’s job for him due to his mental impairment.
President Joe Biden suggested Gisele Fetterman would be doing the actual job of a senator if her husband won his November race in an apparent gaffe.
“John, thank you very much for running, I do appreciate it. And Gisele, you’re gonna make a great lady in the Senate,” he said in an October campaign appearance.
In addition to speculation that Gisele Fetterman would be the power driving her husband’s decisions as a senator, some have also predicted John Fetterman will resign, clearing the way for his wife to be appointed to his role.
John Fetterman won his Senate seat by about five points, beating Dr. Mehmet Oz.