Traditionally, it’s a time for Americans to come together in a spirit of harmony. But when you are the daughters of Barack Obama, it seems tradition goes out of the window.
After 16-year-old Malia and Sasha, 13, were pictured looking a little bored at a White House Thanksgiving ceremony they found themselves under attack from one of their father’s political opponents.
Elizabeth Lauten, a communications director for a leading Republican, claimed the girls looked as though they were dressing for a “spot at the bar” when they appeared with their father to pardon the Thanksgiving turkey – an annual Washington event in which the President spares a bird from the slaughter.
In an online post, she asked Malia and Sasha to “try showing a little class” after they wore short skirts and ankle boots, with Malia in black tights and Sasha bare legged.
But Miss Lauten was forced to apologise for her “hurtful” words when a backlash flared up accusing her of cyber bullying, and the hashtag #FireElizabethLauten began trending on Twitter.
Miss Lauten’s Facebook post, which has since been deleted, read that she understood the girls were in “those awful teen years” but urged them to “at least respect the part you play”.
She added: “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.”
Miss Lauten is a former national media director for the Republican party. She currently works for Stephen Fincher, from Tennessee, who is a member of the House of Representatives.
In her apology she said: “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.
“Furthermore, I’d like to apologise to all of those who I have hurt and offended with my words, and pledge to learn and grow (and I assure you I have) from this experience.”