“Stretch yourself”, she demanded of the Obama girls. “Act like being in the White House matters to you… show a little class.”
The GOP staffer, Elizabeth Lauten, who took jabs at President Obama’s daughters — Sasha, 13, and Malia, 16 — on Facebook for their facial expressions, body language and outfits during the recent pardoning of the turkey ceremony, resigned on December 2.
Saying that Lauten’s criticisms are “horribly misguided”, Claire Cohen for The Telegraph says, “Yes, the First Daughters look like they should be curled up on the sofa, watching Mean Girls. But they absolutely reserve the right to be. They’re teenagers. Who of us was sartorially savvy during those difficult years?”
“Expressing such disdain for young girls,” opines Diana Reese for the Washington Post, “hardly seems like the way for Republicans to woo women, minorities and youth.”
“Short skirts are in style. And when you’re a teenaged girl, there is perhaps nothing worse on this earth than to wear something that isn’t in style,” Reese adds.
After the firestorm of criticism erupted against Lauten, she posted an apology. “But she never used the words, ‘I’m sorry’,” continues Reese.
“Instead, she described how she prayed for hours.”
“What’s going on here? How did Lauten become such a big deal to the Left?” questions Jim Geraghty for the National Review. The simplest explanation, according to him, is: “A white Republican ‘attacked’ the Obama daughters over an issue most Americans don’t care about — insufficient enthusiasm at the silly traditional ceremony. It lets the Obamas be a victim, the (blonde!) Republican be the aggressor and bully, and the lefty online furies play the chivalrous role in defending the girls’ freedom.”
Their teenage disdain also drew its fair share of media attention, including a BuzzFeed article titled “The Obama Girls Could Not Be More Bored by Their Dad’s Jokes”.
Some Republicans criticised the news media’s coverage of Lauten’s comments, calling the attention politically biased.
“Children, especially the first daughters, are off limits. While the comments were inappropriate and insensitive, the media’s coverage of this story is appalling,” said the Republican National Committee communications director, Sean Spicer, in a series of tweets.