Political commentary on President Obama’s clothing choices started almost immediately after his inauguration. Just two weeks after the president took the oath of office, Republican critics started complaining about photographs showing Obama in the Oval Office without a jacket on. Democrats responded by showing pictures of Reagan dressed in similar Oval Office attire, and the right quietly moved on.
But over the years, the complaints lingered – about the president’s jeans, the president’s neckwear, etc.
Yesterday, interest in presidential attire reached a level that was hard to believe, with the political world going a little bonkers over Obama’s tan suit. Andrew Kaczynski flagged the latest from Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) whose apoplexy about the color of the president’s suit was so over the top, it’s tempting to think this is satire.
“There’s no way any of us can excuse what the president did yesterday,” King said of President Obama on NewsMaxTV. “When you have the world watching … a week, two weeks of anticipation of what the United States is gonna do. For him to walk out – I’m not trying to be trivial here – in a light suit, light tan suit, saying that first he wants to talk about what most Americans care about the revision of second quarter numbers on the economy. This is a week after Jim Foley was beheaded and he’s trying to act like real Americans care about the economy, not about ISIS and not about terrorism. And then he goes on to say he has no strategy.”King said Obama’s comments and actions showed “foreign policy was not a major issue” for President Obama.
Note, this isn’t a joke. Kaczynski posted the clip of King’s remarks, which seem to be entirely sincere.
An actual member of Congress – the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee’s panel on counter-terrorism, no less – believes there’s “no way” to “excuse what the president did.” And in this case, what the president did was put on a tan suit.
I especially like the part in which King says he’s “not trying to be trivial here.” No, of course not. Perish the thought. All he’s doing is launching a tirade about the color of the president’s tan suit. Why would anyone think that’s trivial?
Also note, King was outraged by Obama’s suggestion that the economy is “what most Americans care about.” The nerve!
As for “he has no strategy,” this is pretty cheap rhetoric given the context of what the president actually said, as the congressman probably realizes.
As for the suit, I can appreciate why it raised eyebrows, at least a little. When I watched the press conference, I noticed the suit, too, and thought to myself, “Huh, that’s different.”
But then the press conference started in earnest and it was time to focus on substance. That is, unless you’re a congressman who believes there’s just no “excuse what the president did” when he put on the suit.
Postscript: White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at the start of today’s briefing that the president ”feels pretty good” about his fashion choice, adding, “The president stands squarely behind his decision he made yesterday to wear his summer suit.”