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John Fetterman Is Selling “Slob” Tees. He’s Not the First Politician to Turn Insults to Inventory.

This subset of "resistance merch" has been thriving for years.

This T-shirt, inspired by the insults lobbed at Senator John Fetterman this week regarding the new senate dress code rules, is for sale at Fetterman's official online shop.

This week, Pennsylvania senator John Fetterman found himself in the middle of a heated debate after House Majority Leader Chuck Schumer relaxed the unofficial Senate dress code—a decision Fetterman reportedly says he did not request, but that many assume is related to the senator’s ultra-casual style.

But while everyone was duking it out on X/Twitter (and at press conferences, and in OpEds), Fetterman was collecting the insults that were being lobbed at him. And then, he put them on a T-shirt. It’s currently sold through Fetterman’s online shop.

Fetterman is far from the first political figure to capitalize on publicized negativity—former president Donald Trump even turned his mug shot into a T-shirt design—but here are a few more who have turned heated words into a fundraising opportunity:

Early last year, Dr. Anthony Fauci was caught in a hot-mic situation, calling Republican senator Roger Marshall a “moron” at a Congressional hearing after a tense exchange about the then-National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director’s financial disclosures. Marshall’s line of questioning was widely criticized, but within days, his campaign was selling T-shirts with Fauci’s face behind the text: “MORON.”

In 2017, Elizabeth Warren protested the confirmation of Jeff Sessions as U.S. Attorney General with a “lengthy” speech to the dismay of Mitch McConnell, who said she “had appeared to violate the rule. She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” Almost immediately, “Nevertheless, she persisted” merch was born. Tees are still sold for $30 through the Massachusetts senator’s official campaign shop.

Months after then presidential candidate Donald Trump called Hillary Clinton a “nasty woman” during a 2016 debate, comedian Samantha Bee launched a collection of “nasty woman” T-shirts to raise money for Planned Parenthood. In July 2017, Clinton wore one on Twitter, linking back to the merch site.

Amy Moeller
Fashion & Weddings Editor

Amy leads Washingtonian Weddings and writes Style Setters for Washingtonian. Prior to joining Washingtonian in March 2016, she was the editor of Capitol File magazine in DC and before that, editor of What’s Up? Weddings in Annapolis.