Sean Hannity launched a Twitter war with Jimmy Kimmel over the late-night host’s criticism of Melania Trump, with Hannity declaring that the First Lady should be off limits. But for the last eight years, Hannity had a much different approach toward Michelle Obama and her children.
Since the early days of Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign for president, Sean Hannity took aim not only at Barack but several times at Michelle and even their children, criticizing her on everything from her healthy eating initiatives, her choice of clothing, and even her eating habits. Media Matters compiled a list of 40 different times that conservative hosts attacked Michelle Obama, and Hannity has several entries on the list.
Hannity’s past criticism of Michelle Obama has come into the spotlight amid his feud with Jimmy Kimmel. Hannity took issue with a joke Kimmel made on his show last week mocking Melania’s thick Eastern European accent, and he demanded that Kimmel apologize. In their back-and-forth on Twitter, Hannity told Kimmel that Donald Trump’s wife and children should be off-limits to criticism.
But as many quickly pointed out, Sean Hannity never expressed that kind of restraint with Barack Obama’s family. The conservative talk show host frequently took aim at the First Lady, starting with the 2008 campaign. As Media Matters noted, Hannity attacked Michelle Obama’s “tone” during campaign speeches, calling her “bitter and angry.”
As Media Matters noted, Hannity also criticized Michelle Obama’s “designer clothes” that she wore to public appearances. He has made no such comment in regard to Melania Trump, who is known for wearing expensive designer clothing in her appearances.
Sean Hannity has also been critical of Barack and Michelle Obama’s young daughters. As Media Matters recalled, he bashed Obama’s daughters for jetting off to a vacation with the family. When a guest pushed back and said that Obama’s daughters should be off-limits, Hannity argued that it was fair game considering the state of the U.S. economy. Hannity has also not commented on Donald Trump’s near-weekly trips to his luxury Mar-a-Lago resort.
Sean Hannity has offered justification for attacking Michelle Obama. On the April 4 episode of his show, Hannity said Michelle Obama opened herself up for criticism for what he said was “interjecting herself into politics.”
“Well, Michelle Obama, when she said ‘For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country,’ she interjected herself into politics, and that statement was outrageous,” Hannity said.
Though Melania Trump mostly stays out of the spotlight, she has at times followed her husband’s lead and interjected herself into politics. In 2011, she vocally supported Donald Trump’s false claims that Barack Obama was not born in the United States, even after Obama released his birth certificate.
“It’s not only Donald who wants to see [Obama’s birth certificate], it’s American people who voted for him and who didn’t vote for him. They want to see that,” Melania Trump said in an appearance on The View (via Daily Kos).
After being told that Barack Obama had already released his birth certificate, Melania doubled down on her claims.
“We feel it’s different than birth certificate,” Melania said.
For his part, Jimmy Kimmel has apologized for his attacks against Sean Hannity and backed off his criticism of Melania Trump. Hannity has made no statement about his past criticisms of Michelle Obama.