Julissa Catalan, Diversity Inc, December 2, 2014
On Monday, Elizabeth Lauten, the Communications Director for U.S. Representative Steven Fincher (R–Tenn.), announced to NBC News that her resignation is currently “in the works,” following the major backlash she received for criticizing Malia and Sasha Obama’s appearance during the annual White House turkey pardon ceremony. The teens seemed unenthused during their father’s speech.
Lauten took to her Facebook page–which has since been deleted–to personally address the First Daughters’ appearance, writing:
“Dear Sasha and Malia, I get you’re both in those awful teen years, but you’re a part of the First Family, try showing a little class. At least respect 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. Rise to the occasion. Act like being in the White House matters to you. Dress like you deserve respect, not at a bar. And certainly don’t make faces during televised public events.”
Quickly, The Root writer Yesha Callahan took a screenshot of Lauten’s rant and posted it to her Twitter account. The image spread like wildfire as many accused the Republican of cyberbullying the Obama girls.
Later that day, Lauten took to her Facebook account yet again, this time to apologize:
“I wanted to take a moment and apologize for a post I made on Facebook earlier today judging Sasha and Malia Obama,” she wrote. “When I first posted on Facebook I reacted to an article and I 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 just how hurtful my words were. Please know, those judgmental feelings truly have no place in my heart. Furthermore, I’d like to apologize to all those who I have hurt and offended with my words, and I pledge to learn and grow (and I assure you I have) from this experience.”
By that Saturday, a Facebook page titled FIRE Elizabeth Lauten was created, which called for the aide’s resignation.