As the November midterms draw closer, the spotlight isn’t just on the Democratic politicians: Their spouses are making waves too.
A piece in Monday’s New York Times fawned over First Lady Jill Biden, or “Dr. B”, as her students call her.
The paper of record reports that according to a senior White House official, Jill “is the most requested surrogate in the administration.”
That’s right. The best surrogate the White House has to offer midterm candidates is the woman who compared Latino Americans to breakfast tacos. That says as much about the numerous “rising stars” in Biden’s cabinet as it does about Jill.
Her supposed popularity isn’t the only interesting tidbit in the piece. The Gray Lady also details how after Joe’s infamous “minor incursion” press conference in January (that went on for almost two hours), the First Lady asked members of his senior staff why nobody stepped in to stop it:
“Where was the person, she demanded, who was supposed to end the news conference?”
I have a similar question for the good doctor regarding her husband’s presidency: why didn’t you step in to end it? Why didn’t Amtrak Joe’s wife put a stop to this train wreck before now?
In August last year, Fox News host Rachel Campos-Duffy dared to say what so many Americans were thinking.
“If you ask me, the most patriotic thing Jill Biden could have done was tell her husband — to love her husband — and not let him run in this mental state that he’s in,” Campos-Duffy said. “I think she failed the country as well.”
Her comments offended the delicate geniuses over at Jill HQ.
The first lady’s now-former press secretary, Michael LaRosa, (he retired shortly after the breakfast tacos debacle) expressed his disgust at Campos-Duffy’s remarks. He added that he hoped Fox News and Campos-Duffy would apologize to Jill Biden.
Fortunately, Rachel Campos-Duffy did not apologize. Why should she? Since then, Joe Biden has proven her point many times over.
The president recently talked about the right to marry couples in the privacy of their own bedroom. He has fallen up the stairs of Air Force One three times. He tumbled off his bicycle in slow-motion on one of his many trips to his Delaware beach house. He fell asleep at the COP26 summit in Glasgow. He tried to shake hands with a ghost on stage and he was led around the White House lawn by the Easter Bunny.
If his wife isn’t expected to step in and help him, who is?
“Jill’s husband”, as he often refers to himself, should be spending his eightieth birthday reading James Joyce on a hammock in Delaware or taking his grandkids for softball-size scoops of chocolate-chocolate chip ice cream on Nantucket. Instead he is blaming Putin for the price of gas and telling Democratic donors that we could be entering Armageddon.
In 2019, before Biden jumped into the presidential primary, former president Barack Obama allegedly told him, “You don’t have to do this, Joe.”
Did his wife not express a similar sentiment?
There is no denying that Jill, like so many first ladies that came before her, is ambitious. She has previously spoken about her status anxiety. Perhaps she wanted to be the first lady so badly that she thinks this fiasco of a presidency is all worth it. But just looking at her nerve-ridden expressions as she watches her husband deliver gaffe-filled speeches, it is hard to imagine she is enjoying her time in the White House.
Another spouse who is garnering attention from the media is Gisele Fetterman, the Brazilian wife of Pennsylvania Democratic Senate nominee John, who suffered a stroke in May. Since then his cognitive ability has been called into question by media outlets and concerned voters.
Like Jill, Gisele is fiercely protective of her husband, who she calls “João.”
After NBC News’s Dasha Burns interviewed the Senate hopeful, she remarked that Fetterman seemed to have trouble understanding small talk prior to their interview.
Her observation caused immediate uproar online. You see, journalists reporting things that they see with their own eyes is no longer allowed. It’s not politically correct.
But it wasn’t just the unhinged Twitter mob melting down over Burns’s completely valid comments. Gisele also chimed in and called for NBC to issue an apology to the disabled community because Burns’s remarks caused damage. What a terrifying blow to the freedom of the press.
For those keeping track at home: questioning the cognitive capabilities of candidates is OK as long as though candidates are Republican. If you question the health or mental acuity of a Democrat, you will be labeled an ableist and roundly shamed. John Fetterman: foul play. Herschel Walker: play ball.
If you dare question Fetterman or Biden’s fitness for office, you’ll likely face more scrutiny for your comments than either of these two men have faced in their entire careers.
And Burns wasn’t the only reporter to rile up Team Fetterman. Rolling Stone reporter Kara Voght came under fire as well. She tweeted out a piece titled “John Fetterman Had a Stroke. Gisele Fetterman Became A Political Star”, which describes Gisele’s charisma and details the integral role she plays in her husband’s campaign.
But in a tweet, Voght described Gisele as the “de facto candidate” in the race. Many readers felt that the reporter was implying that Fetterman couldn’t lead his own campaign.
Gisele didn’t need to demand an apology this time: Voght backtracked all on her own! She quickly deleted the tweet and then changed the phrasing from “de facto candidate” to “key surrogate.” She also apologized for being “imprecise” with her “word choices.”
But was she imprecise? Let’s ask Gisele: in October 2020, she responded to someone on Twitter by saying “I am definitely the brains of the operation.” In May 2021, she tweeted, “I love how excited you guys are to vote for us (notice I didn’t say João 😉) but we are on next year’s ballot, not today’s ❤️This year there are a ton of important races but not ours.” In September 2021, she posted a “behind-the-scenes look on the campaign trail with João and how I am clearly the brains of this operation.”
Then ask President Biden, who spoke at a Pennsylvania rally supporting the Fettermans this week. “John, thank you very much for running, I really do appreciate it. And Gisele, you’re going to be a great, great lady in the Senate.” John Fetterman did not speak at this rally. Which, I hasten to remind you, was ostensibly for him. Gisele, meanwhile, posed for pictures with President Biden aboard Air Force One. Her husband did not.
If these ambitious women are becoming political stars and de facto candidates in high demand, perhaps they should take up the mantle and give their husbands a much-needed way out. Politics ain’t beanbag, but watching your spouse go through this kind of hell just seems plain cruel.