Elizabeth Lauten, a communications director for Republican Congressman Stephen Lee Fincher of Tennessee, is receiving heavy backlash after a comment she made on social media directed to President Obama’s daughters.
Following the annual turkey pardoning event at the White House, Lauten took to social media to voice her opinion of the Obama girls demeanor at the event. In the open letter to Sasha and Malia Obama on Lauten’s facebook page, the GOP aide tells the girls to “try showing a little class.” In the letter she openly bashes President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama by saying that the pair lack respect for this nation.
“At least repect the part you play. Then again your mother and father don’t respect their positions very much, or the nation for that matter, so I’m guessing you’re coming up a little short in the “good role model” department. Nevertheless, stretch yourself.”
Lauten stated that she felt the girls were dressed like they want a “spot at the bar” and that they “shouldn’t make faces during televised, public events.” You can read the full posting below that was captured via screen shot by Twitter user Yesha.
Once the screenshot was posted to Twitter it didn’t take long for an army of support to arrive for the Obama girls. Many commenters noted that they “thought president’s children were off limits.” Others said that Lauten should be fired for her harsh words towards teenage girls. However, in addition to the standard support messages, it seems many Twitter users felt that Lauten was only critical of the girls because of the color of their skin.
In fact, numerous users pointed out that Lauten probably had nothing to say about “Bush’s drunk daughters” or presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s “family fighting.” Though these statements are true, Lauten absolutely had nothing to say about Bush’s daughters or Palin’s children, does that make her a racist?
Though many people feel that it is immoral to attack presidential children, it has been happening since the beginning of the American government. This is not an isolated incident against President Obama’s daughters. In fact, criticism of presidential children is documented as far back as President Lincoln. SF Gate did a fantastic report outlining the problems of presidential children throughout history.
You don’t have to look back as far as Lincoln’s children to see media’s obsession with presidential children. The Bush twins were heavily criticized by the media for partying and outlandish behavior. Chelsea Clinton was made fun of for her looks and was even mocked on a Wayne’s World skit on Saturday Night Live. Susan Ford busted out of the White House on one occasion running from secret service and Luci Johnson was reprimanded by the public for her “poor grades.”
It would be a wonderful concept if presidential children were an “off limits” subject for media and those with opposing political views; however, if history is any indicator, it doesn’t appear that will be the case anytime soon. Lauten’s comments may have certainly been immoral as they were aimed at teenage girls. However, this appears to be much more of a partisan issue than a race issue as it has been an issue for presidential children throughout the ages.
Lauten did return to Facebook to apologize for her remarks and noted that she should have thought about the effects of her words on such young girls.
What do you think of Lauten’s comment? Was it racist or a partisan issue?