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Gisele Fetterman Addresses 'Worst Wife in America' Criticism

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

Democrat John Fetterman’s road to recovery has been anything but smooth. Instead of spending the necessary time in the aftermath of his stroke concentrating on his health, he was instead focused on beating his GOP opponent, Dr. Mehmet Oz, in Pennsylvania’s Senate race. Now, after only serving in his official capacity as a senator for a short time, he’s been sidelined in the hospital with severe depression. While most are sympathetic to his health conditions, many would agree that it would be better if he stepped aside and let someone better up to the demands of the job take the reins, though it doesn’t look like that will happen anytime soon. A lot of people have pointed fingers at his wife, Gisele, for that.

“Here we are… sadly vindicated, wondering how two women closest to sick men in declining health can even live with themselves,” said Fox News’s Laura Ingraham last month.  “I guess the allure of power is too great for compassion and common sense in these cases, because these women are pushing their men beyond their limits, not out of a devotion to their constituents, but due to these women's own desire for political power and prestige.”

Ingraham is not alone in that type of assessment, and now, Gisele Fetterman is pushing back. 

In an opinion piece published in Elle, Gisele said most of the criticism since her husband’s public profile grew has been directed at her. 

“On social media, people accused me of kidnapping the kids and running away to Canada,” she wrote, explaining her trip was to get away from the media trucks circling their house. “They promoted conspiracy theories claiming I was an ambitious, power hungry wife, secretly plotting to fill his Senate seat. It was all so wildly preposterous.”

The threats against her and her family “multiplied in frequency, volume, and severity, including active threats of harm,” Gisele explained. “To say these attacks frighten me and my children would be a grave understatement. But at the same time, I’ve been dealing with a version of this for several years now. As soon as John’s political profile began to grow, I started receiving hate mail—ten times more than John ever got himself.”

She insists she has no desire to serve in public office—“that’s the last thing I’d want”—and prefers to continue nonprofit work in her community.  

Gisele likened the harassment she’s endured from “right-wing extremists” to what other high-profile women have experienced, citing Michelle Obama, Meghan Markle, Jill Biden, and Hillary Clinton. 

“To hear my critics tell it, it’s my fault that John ran for Senate. It’s my fault that he won,” she wrote. “It’s my fault that he had a stroke, and it’s my fault that he’s depressed. And somehow, at the same time, I’m just a wife who should stay at home and out of the public eye.”

She said she’s exhausted from the attacks and has no desire to grow “thicker skin,” as some have advised her to do.

“[W]e can’t fight fire with fire. We can’t out-hate a force set on denying our essential humanity,” she said. “What we can do is continue to live with love every day. To show gentleness and compassion to everyone, including ourselves. To reject their venom wholesale, and be wholly, independently who we’re meant to and want to be.”


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