Newt Gingrich is cool enough to have a lesbian half-sibling who performed the first same-sex marriage in an American sitcom, which was later censored by China. In no other way is he cool. Newt is so uncool he can’t even identify lyrics from a Nine Inch Nails song famously covered by Johnny Cash. On Sunday, he tried to attack Pennsylvania congressional candidate John Fetterman, and only succeeded in embarrassing himself à la Fetterman’s accident-prone opponent, Dr. Mehmet Oz.
Why would Pennsylvania democratic senate candidate john fetterman have a tattoo saying “ i will make you hurt”?
— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) September 26, 2022
Fetterman, who has his share of tats, used to have a tattoo that quoted one of the lyrics from NIN’s “Hurt,” namely “I will make you hurt.” It’s one of the most brutal songs Trent Reznor ever wrote, filled with self-hatred and regret and even intimations of self-harm. Johny Cash, shortly before his death, recorded a devastating version of it that packing even more of a wallop after his passing.
Perhaps Gingrich never even heard the Cash version. After all, he was so busy in 2002 no longer being in Congress. Maybe that’s why he took to Twitter, cluelessly writing, “Why would Pennsylvania democratic senate candidate john fetterman have a tattoo saying ‘ i will make you hurt’?”
Gingrich’s ignorance — or maybe it was a failed joke, who knows with guys like Newt — prompted lots of helpful explanations.
Because it’s a lyric of the song “Hurt” and he’s a fan of Nine Inch Nails or Johnny Cash who covered the NIN song?
— Nasty False Vacuum (@impeacheagle) September 26, 2022
It’s a reference to one of those woke effete urban emo hippy musician types you’ve never heard of, Newt. A guy named Johnny Cash. https://t.co/6ijaYj62RZ
— Strahan Cadell (@Sartor1836) September 26, 2022
Because he's either a fan of Johnny Cash or NIN. Either way, why does it matter? https://t.co/K21jtP9H4R
— 🇺🇸🇨🇦Mindy🇨🇦🇺🇸 (@lady_aven) September 26, 2022
Well, he's either a Nine Inch Nails fan or a Johnny Cash fan,
Either way he's about 1000 times cooler than you.
— Jason (@sparky347v) September 26, 2022
And jokes, including references to his treatment of former spouses.
Newt correctly identifies Pretty Hate Machine as the superior album despite the pushback he knows he'll receive, that's leadershiphttps://t.co/XPBUYOJuVW
— Zack Budryk (@BudrykZack) September 26, 2022
Ironically Newt has a tattoo that says “thank u, next” https://t.co/Gm5WN8Efrn
— ResponsibleDispatchHat (@Popehat) September 26, 2022
hearing reports that candidate fetterman shot a man in reno just to watch him die https://t.co/I6ArY16ItJ
— in the pocket of Big Tenant (@AllezLesBoulez) September 26, 2022
Why are you still here? https://t.co/r9HysV6edB
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) September 26, 2022
You really are the antithesis of anyone, anywhere, ever who would understand that song. https://t.co/ouIuvBVXLx
— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) September 26, 2022
Maybe he was inspired by your treatment of your cancer-stricken wife? https://t.co/Qmhox7bmUN
— LouiseMensch 🇺🇸🇺🇦 (@LouiseMensch) September 26, 2022
The response was such that the next day, Gingrich tried to spin it, roping in a dodgy claim from a rightwing site about Fetterman’s alleged gang ties: “Is Pennsylvania Democrat Fetterman’s tattoo ‘I will make you hurt’ based on his ties to the crips gang as reported by the Free Beacon or a reference to the nine inch nails heroin song ‘Hurt’. Fetterman won’t answer questions.
Is Pennsylvania Democrat Fetterman’s tattoo “I will make you hurt” based on his ties to the crips gang as reported by the Free Beacon or a reference to the nine inch nails heroin song “Hurt”. Fetterman won’t answer questions.
— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) September 26, 2022
Actually, Fetterman has answered this question before, long ago, in a 2009 Rolling Stone profile, which pointed out the line was followed by the dates of murders that took place in Braddock, Pennsylvania, when he was its mayor. “That’s what it does to me,” Fetterman said of the lyric. “It’s very personal.” He also talked about it more recently while slamming Tucker Carlson for also trying to make a mountain out of the molehill of his tattoos. He’s since covered the lyric tattoo up.
Gingrich’s clumsy, Oz-esque blunder led not only to lots of corrections, but also lots of jokes (and, again, lots of references to his treatment of former spouses).
We're 2 tweets away from Newt blaming Fetterman for Biggie and Tupac's murders
— Dr. Jorge Caballero stands with 🇺🇦 (@DataDrivenMD) September 27, 2022
Having a hard time deciding which of these would be cooler https://t.co/ynCiHIUSNa
— Ian Boudreau (@iboudreau) September 27, 2022
When will Fetterman answer tough questions about whether he prefers the Johnny Cash cover or the NIN original? https://t.co/xqBycufLvQ
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) September 27, 2022
Thank you Mr. Speaker for asking the questions Americans need to know: Is the future senator Cool or Extremely Cool. https://t.co/hgy118lq2D
— Jonathan M. Katz (@KatzOnEarth) September 27, 2022
He's just quoting what you said to your first wife when she was in the hospital for her 3rd cancer surgery and you were leaving her to be with your sidepiece (who you married and then left to be with another side piece). https://t.co/h3c6E1HHGl
— Cheri Jacobus (@CheriJacobus) September 27, 2022
Is Newt Gingrich’s inability to stay faithful to a woman based on his ties to the crips gang? I’m just asking the questions here. https://t.co/9DXU2kGyWz
— Soledad O'Brien (@soledadobrien) September 27, 2022
Actually Trent Reznor wrote Hurt about a guy who abandons his cancer stricken wife in the hospital https://t.co/QPGzW0Xggc
— Lauren Hough (@laurenthehough) September 27, 2022
Election Day is on Nov. 8. In the meantime, you can enjoy both Nine Inch Nail’s and Johnny Cash’s versions of “Hurt” below.