What’s scarier to Republicans than a Democrat stealing one of their Senate seats? Said Democrat having a wife that’s funny.
While sorting out their feelings about underperforming in the midterms, Fox News has taken to attacking Gisele Fetterman, wife of Pennsylvania’s senator-elect John Fetterman, for daring to “undermine” her 6'9" husband by cropping his head out of photos on social media.
Gisele, armed with a legendary sense of humor and a photo resize tool, has a recurring bit wherein she crops off her partner’s head from photos of the two of them. On Tuesday, she indulged in the joke yet again, centering herself in a photo on John’s first day of work. It’s a fun wink! It’s funny! He’s really tall!
Fox News apparently thinks it’s an inter-family coup attempt. The network aired a long segment this week in which they skewered Gisele for centering herself in their photos. “It does feel like Pennsylvania has elected [John’s] wife, and she is certainly furthering this idea,” said one of the hosts. Conservative commentator Tiana Lowe tweeted, “She wanted this so badly for herself lol. I hope subjecting her husband and her marriage to this was worth her 15 minutes.’’
To be clear: This is Gisele’s thing. She’s done it a million times, and even explicitly said on Twitter that it’s a running joke.
Now, I don’t turn to Fox News for comedy. Though its anchors have certainly made me laugh in the past, it is truly baffling to witness how dense these folks are. I’m still not entirely sure if this is just bad faith banter, or they really don’t understand what a joke is. I’m inclined to believe the latter, in part because there aren’t really any Gisele GOP counterparts playfully teasing their political spouses. I think they genuinely cannot compute a woman who comically mocks her husband instead of standing silently still beside him so as to not crack his fragile armor of masculinity. Mike Pence, you’ll recall, earnestly calls his wife, Karen, “mother,” and refuses to dine alone with other women—even colleagues.
The closest the GOP has gotten in the past few years to a spouse being “funny” is Melania’s infamous “I Really Don’t Care, Do U?” jacket, which she wore to an immigrant detention center. She claimed it was a biting message aimed at the “fake news” media. I forgot to laugh, did u?
I would be remiss to not quickly give credit to unintentionally funny GOP wife Callista Gingrich and her use of Facetune. The wife of Newt, former speaker of the House, notoriously edits about 30 years off of her face in selfies with her husband while letting Newt look like he’s been left out in the sun for a week. (I really don’t think this is purposeful humor on Cally’s part—but if it is, I take this all back and want her nominated for the Kennedy Center Honors.)
For Gisele Fetterman, however, the humor very much is intentional, as she told Jezebel’s Kylie Cheung in an interview:
Candidates typically leave their social media accounts to staffers to handle. So is John this funny in real life? “No, he really is that funny. I think we both are,” Gisele said. I imagine a sense of humor has been important on a campaign trail that’s seen no shortage of stressful moments: John suffered a stroke back in May and said in June that he “almost died.”
“I always say it’s important to take the work seriously, and we take the work very, very seriously,” Gisele said. “But we don’t take ourselves or each other seriously. And I think that’s what you see. We’re committed to the work, but we’re going to have fun doing it. It’s the only way to get through it.”
While John Fetterman became famous this past election for his hilarious burns of his Republican opponent, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Gisele wants everyone to know she can hold her own and even best him in the humor department, which I very must respect.
It appears that a woman who lightly teases her spouse falls so far outside of the GOP’s oppressively narrow perception of traditional marriage that they genuinely cannot perceive the joke. Luckily, Gisele isn’t in need of their laughs—she’s garnered a sizable fanbase who understand and appreciate that wives poking fun at their husbands does not have to be an attempt to undermine his career.
That said, if there are any conservative political wives reading this right now, the field is WIDE OPEN for you to swoop in and be named America’s Funniest Republican Wife. My DMs are open, as well.