The congressional aide who chided the first daughters for their attitude and dress at last week’s turkey pardoning ceremony has stepped down.
Malia and Sasha Obama struck bored poses with coordinating facial expressions during the president’s quips and jokes, and Malia refused when President Obama asked if she wanted to pet the turkey.
Elizabeth Lauten, a former Republican National Committee staffer and current communications director for Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.), came under fire for posting an open letter to the girls on her Facebook page.
“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,” Lauten wrote.
“Nevertheless, stretch yourself. Rise to the occasion. 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.”
Hours after a Twitter-led uproar began, Lauten removed her post and posted a Facebook apology.
“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,” she wrote. “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 of 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.”
But when Congress came back from recess today, Lauten was handing in her resignation, as first reported this morning by NBC News.
There was no statement issued on the matter by Fincher’s office. Yet social media forces who spread Lauten’s words urged people to keep pressure on the congressman. For instance, Sirius Urban View host Joe Madison urged listeners to call or write Fincher; one of his Facebook followers today said the congressman’s office line was constantly busy.
Others on Twitter thought the congressman was buckling to PC pressure by showing Lauten the door.
Fincher was elected to a third term this November. Lauten also used to work under former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), a Tea Party activist who served one term before losing to Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.). Walsh now hosts a conservative radio show.
On ABC’s This Week, NPR analyst Cokie Roberts opined, “Social media is a problem and people should stay off of it, particularly if they’ve had any substance that they shouldn’t be on.”
Democratic strategist Donna Brazile noted that Lauten was “insulting, but she did apologize.”