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Fincher aide resigns after dissing Obama's daughters

Posted at 11:30 AM, Dec 01, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-01 17:52:30-05

WASHINGTON – A top aide to Tennessee Congressman Stephen Fincher has resigned after facing a barrage of criticism for a Facebook post about President Barack Obama’s daughters.

Elizabeth Lauten, Fincher’s communications director, resigned today, said the congressman’s chief of staff, Jessica Carter.

Lauten touched off a firestorm on social media with her Facebook post about the president’s daughters’ appearance last week at their father’s traditional pardoning of two Thanksgiving turkeys.

“Dear Sasha and Malia,” Lauten wrote, “I get you’re both in those awful teen years, but you’re 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 a spot at a bar. And certainly don’t make faces during televised, public events.”

The post circulated widely on Twitter and was a topic on sites such as The Root, Gawker and Vibe. It also was picked up by traditional news outlets, including The Washington Post.

Lauten removed the post and issued an apology, saying, “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.”

Roy Herron, chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party, issued a statement Monday calling Lauten’s attack of the Obama daughters “cruel, outrageous, and inexcusable.”

“This unprecedented low in Washington mudslinging is absolutely toxic for our civic life and political culture,” Herron said.

Even some Republicans were critical of Lauten’s comments.

“Children, especially the first daughters, are off limits,” Sean Spicer, communications director for the Republican National Committee, tweeted Monday morning.

But Spicer said while Lauten’s comments were “inappropriate and insensitive,” he also blasted the media for what he called its “appalling” coverage of the story.