John Fetterman’s Villain Arc Is Getting Weirder

Fetterman spent the last few days waving Israel's flag & advocating against a two-state solution. Meanwhile, his wife reactivated her deactivated socials.

John Fetterman’s Villain Arc Is Getting Weirder

Update, 1/31/24: On Tuesday afternoon, following reports that Gisele Fetterman deactivated all her social media accounts, she reactivated her Twitter and wrote, “I posted several months ago that i would be talking a break from social media. I was bored with it … i am a Pisces ♓️ … it wasn’t adding anything to my life .. but leaving social media is somehow more exhausting than having it?! .” The tweet came after an onslaught of speculation from social media users that she and her husband Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) had split amid his increasingly erratic behavior. She followed it up with another tweet: “You guys really are terrible, respectfully .” Original story below.

I regret to inform everyone that the situation with John Fetterman—the Democratic senator from Pennsylvania who ran, took people’s money, and won as a “progressive,” only to spend the last three months spitting in our faces—has only gotten weirder. Last month, we at Jezebel questioned what this man’s plan was. After all, this is a politician who ran from the left on pro-immigrant rhetoric and repeatedly pointed to his wife Gisele’s formerly undocumented status—only to now champion deeply cruel policies on both immigration and the ensuing violence in Gaza. Turns out, he was nowhere near done being terrible!

On Friday, Fetterman responded to pro-Palestine protesters demonstrating outside his home by standing on his roof and waving Israel’s flag at them. (The Philadelphia Jewish Voice for Peace characterized the demonstration as a vigil mourning at least 26,000 killed in Gaza.) It was a truly befuddling sight, especially because you’d think a sitting senator with children and a family in his home would want to de-escalate a tense confrontation. Instead, the senator egged on protesters and taunted people for being outraged by the indiscriminate killing that he himself has made clear he stands by.

On top of waving the flag of a foreign state from his rooftop, Fetterman also had the distinct dishonor of being one of just two Democratic senators (joined only by West Virginia’s Joe Manchin) who declined to back a resolution supporting a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine last week. (The resolution came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated clearly that he does not support a Palestinian state—a statement that President Biden then inexplicably denied that Netanyahu said.) A spokesperson for Fetterman then gave Business Insider a frankly ridiculous statement, claiming Fetterman “strongly supports a two-state solution in Israel and Palestine, and always has” but that he “strongly believes that this resolution should include language stipulating the destruction of Hamas as a precondition to peace.” There’s no value in arguing with someone as far down the rabbit hole as Fetterman seems to be—but it’s frankly comical to watch him act as if a foreign state that’s killed over 26,000 people within three months isn’t the biggest force standing in the way of the peace Fetterman supposedly wants. Fetterman’s rejection of the resolution, mind you, is to the right of former President George W. Bush.

But the latest twist came Monday: Political reporter Pablo Manríquez reported that Gisele Fetterman appears to have deactivated her Twitter, on top of also deactivating her Instagram account over a month ago. Throughout Fetterman’s campaign and his first year in the Senate, Gisele’s been an active voice on social media, often sharing her compassionate, left-leaning politics—which are pretty at odds with Fetterman’s more recent insistence that the U.S. should unconditionally fund Israel’s horrific attacks on Gaza and close our borders to people seeking asylum. Manríquez’s tweet set off a firestorm of speculation about the Fettermans’ marriage, including one user who mused, “Truly must see how this man dresses AFTER his divorce,” a reference to Fetterman’s penchant for hoodies. “Longshot, Gisele, if you are reading this hmu,” one user replied to Manríquez’s post.

None of us can pretend to know the interiority of the Fettermans’ lives. But I’ll just say this: Wielding your spouse’s deeply personal immigration story to brand yourself as progressive, only to do a 180 on immigration after being elected, and then relentlessly supporting what humanitarian groups characterize as a horrific war on children in Gaza, are incredibly fair reasons to leave someone. There’s also this interesting little snippet from a September profile of Gisele in the Cut:

Recently, after family friends announced a breakup, [Gisele] says [their son] Karl asked his parents if they would ever get divorced. They responded at the same time. John said, “Never.” [Gisele] said, “Maybe.” Understandably, her husband asked his wife why. [Gisele] says she told him, “I love you so much, but life happens. And if something were to happen, I don’t want it to debilitate them.” She sees this not as pessimism but optimism. “Whatever comes, we’re going to figure out a way through it,” she says.

Please let me momentarily indulge in some fan fiction and fantasize about a world in which Gisele, a literal volunteer firefighter and co-founder of a nonprofit to address food insecurity, primaries Fetterman on a cheerfully pro-immigrant, not-insane-on-Israel platform and wins.

Speaking of primaries, I know 2028 is a long time from now, but given how the passionate, progressive base that Fetterman relied on to win in 2022 has pretty understandably divested from him by now, I repeat: What, exactly, is the plan here, John? Are we expecting Pennsylvania voters to just forget how many tens of thousands of Palestinians were killed while Fetterman gleefully cheered on their aggressor? Do you think your forthcoming memoir on mental health—all while advocating for a vicious military campaign inflicting irreparable trauma on the children of Gaza—will make us all forget?

I keep seeing so many people genuinely ask what happened to Fetterman, what’s sent him spiraling on a path that’s seen him laugh at veterans who were getting arrested for protesting for peace in Gaza, and share a gross Drake meme trivializing rape in an attempt to “own” pro-Palestine people. And I stand by what I wrote in December:

Fetterman once campaigned and fundraised on holding this [progressive] political identity—then, leftists were mean to him online for supporting war crimes. And in the same way he once “owned” big banks and corporations, he’s now opted to own us, peasants who are begging for an end to the carnage, for an end to Gazan women subjected to emergency C-sections without anesthesia, and for an end to torrents of photos and videos of killed and maimed children.

It’s incredibly sad and embarrassing to watch a grown man, a father, a husband (for now) spin out like this. And as Fetterman’s tactics continue to get weirder and weirder, it hardly even seems worth asking what his plan is—at this point, I’m convinced he doesn’t have one.

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