A GOP staffer will resign after launching a verbal assault on Malia and Sasha Obama in the wake of their appearance at the president’s annual turkey pardoning ceremony last week at the White House.
Elizabeth Lauten, who served as a communications director for Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.), criticized the two girls in a Facebook rant which eventually went viral. “Act like being in the White House matters to you. Dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at a bar. And certainly don’t make faces during televised, public events,” wrote Lauten.
She also said that the Obama daughters, who largely stay out of the limelight, should show “a little class.”
Many have argued Malia and Sasha were behaving like typical teenagers at the event. They appeared unamused by their father’s corny jokes and at one point Malia declined to pet the Thanksgiving turkey by simply saying, “Nah.”
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Lauten has since apologized for her post, admitting, “When I first posted on Facebook I reacted to an article and I quickly judged the two young ladies in a way that I would never have wanted to be judged myself as a teenager.” Lauten’s name became a trending topic amid the controversy, with over 22,000 mentions in 24 hours. She had previously been responsible for a gaffe this summer when she accidentally tweeted about “shagging” on Fincher’s official Twitter account. Now, her resignation is “in the works.”
This is far from the first time the president’s daughters have been singled out for ridicule on the right.
In 2010, during the BP oil spill crisis, Glenn Beck mocked Malia for reportedly asking President Obama about the clean-up.
“Did you plug the hole yet, Daddy?” said Beck, imitating the president’s daughter. “Ask ‘Daddy’ why he ‘hates black people so much.’ ” The conservative radio host also mocked Malia’s intelligence, saying: “That’s the level of their education, that they’re coming to — they’re coming to Daddy and saying, ‘Daddy, did you plug the hole yet?’ “
In 2012, when the president cited Malia and Sasha as influential in his decision to embrace gay marriage, Bristol Palin, the daughter of ex-Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, attacked them in a widely criticized blog post.
“I guess we can be glad that Malia and Sasha aren’t younger, or perhaps today’s press conference might have been about appointing Dora the Explorer as Attorney General because of her success in stopping Swiper the Fox,” Palin wrote.
That same year right wing firebrand Ann Coulter declared: “Maybe it’s time to start imitating liberals in another way and go after the Obama children.”
Last year, following President Obama‘s statement that he would support the selling of Plan B, a birth control product, to girls as young as 15, Fox News host Andrea Tantaros speculated about the sex life of Malia, who was 14 years old at the time.
“Are they gonna put her on birth control? Because he’s very concerned with contraceptives and pharmaceuticals that are going in the mouths of everybody else’s 15-year-old daughter,” Tantaros said, according to Media Matters.
And that same year the NRA had the audacity to reference the secret service protection of Malia and Sasha in a controversial ad suggesting the president was a “hypocrite” on gun control. When Obama was running for president in 2008, he stated emphatically that politicians’ families should be “off limits.” But that hasn’t stopped some of his political enemies from occasionally taking potshots at his children.
If there’s any consolation, it’s nothing new. Rush Limbaugh famously compared Chelsea Clinton to a dog and said Amy Carter was the “most unattractive presidential daughter in the history of the country.”
This piece has been updated since its original publication.