For the most part, even President Obama’s fiercest critics have left his daughters alone. We’ve come a long way since the days when Republicans like John McCain and Rush Limbaugh would openly and publicly ridicule President Clinton’s daughter.
But the relative silence about Malia and Sasha Obama made it all the more striking when a congressional aide blasted them on social media for acting like teenagers at the annual turkey pardoning ceremony at the White House last week. Adam Howard reported:
Elizabeth Lauten, who served as a communications director for Rep. Stephen Fincher, 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.
Her online lecture went on to urge the president’s daughters to “try showing a little class.”
Lauten’s rebuke quickly made the rounds, prompting the Republican aide to apologize soon after.
“I reacted to an article and quickly judged the two young ladies in a way that I would never have wanted to be judged myself as a teenager. After many hours of prayer, talking to my parents and re-reading my words online, I can see more clearly how hurtful my words were,” Lauten wrote on Friday. “Please know that these judgmental feelings truly have no pace in my heart. Furthermore, I’d like to apologize to all of those who I have hurt and offended with my words, and pledge to learn and grow (and I assure you I have) from this experience.”
That did not, in fact, make the problem go away. As of this morning, Lauten is looking for a new job.
The Republican congressional aide who wrote a widely-disseminated Facebook post criticizing President Barack Obama’s daughters says that she is resigning today.Elizabeth Lauten, the communications director for Tennessee Rep. Steven Fincher, told NBC News by phone Monday that her resignation is already “in the works.”
So, let’s open this up to a little discussion. Was Lauten’s ouster the appropriate resolution? I’ll confess to having mixed feelings about this.
Argument #1: she had to go. Lauten went after the president’s daughters, who nearly always keep a low public profile, for no good reason. Her criticism of the Obama girls was mean-spirited and unnecessary, and ended up embarrassing her boss. Lauten, who’s paid to communicate effectively, clearly should have known better.
Argument #2: her apology should have been enough. Lauten, speaking in her personal capacity, wrote something offensive, but she apologized fairly quickly and removed the insulting content. Such missteps shouldn’t necessarily cost political professionals their jobs.
My gut leans towards the prior, but part of me isn’t quite comfortable with the idea of professionals being one foolish social-media message away from unemployment. What do you think?