A History of Criticizing Presidential Children

Thomas Lincoln was known for herding his goat, through his mother’s tea parties, appointing himself toll taker on the White House stairway, making everyone give him a nickel before they could pass, and for once interrupting a Cabinet meeting so his father could sign a “pardon” for one of his dolls.  Teddy Roosevelt’s children, especially Quentin and Alice Roosevelt were also “terrors’.

For example, when younger brother Archie was confined to his room with measles; Quentin got the family pony, Algonquin, on the White House elevator and up to Archie’s room. Alice smoked on the roof of the White House, drove at breakneck speeds, fired guns at telegraph poles from a moving train, jumped into a swimming pool fully clothed and sometimes appeared with her pet boa constrictor around her neck.

In fact, after repeatedly interrupted an important meeting, a visitor insisted that the Roosevelt do something about his daughter.

“I can either run the country or I can control Alice,” Roosevelt replied. “I cannot possibly do both.”

Margaret Truman began a career as a concert vocalist, appearing on Ed Sullivan’s “Toast of the Town” TV show.  However, in 1950, she gave a concert in Washington that was reviewed by Washington Post music critic Paul Hume.

Hume trying to be diplomatic called her “a unique American phenomenon…extremely attractive on stage,” adding, “Miss Truman cannot sing very well. She is flat a good deal of the time.”

Harry Truman threatened to kick Hume’s butt if they ever met.

Susan Ford was criticized for wearing blue jeans in the White House, had her high school dates critiqued and humiliated when her mother told a national talk show that she “wouldn’t be surprised” if Susan had a premarital affair. Ford also busted out of the White House on one occasion running from secret service.

Luci Johnson was reprimanded by the public for her “poor grades,” and Chelsea Clinton was made fun of for her looks and even mocked on a Wayne’s World skit on Saturday Night Live. Mike Myers later sent an apology to the White House after her parents complained.

Jenna Bush was nailed for underage drinking twice, and both she and her twin, Barbara attempted to ditch their security agents. And for April fool’s Day 2005 spoof, Maxim published a photo illustration of Jenna and Barbara Bush, plumage in the air, sporting lingerie in what was meant to be the aftermath of a pillow fight.

Amy Carter, who was ordered to go to state dinners by her father; she brought a book to read and was assailed for not showing the proper respect to heads of state. One reporter called her “a lamentably spoiled, perpetually tired, whining brat with miserable manners.”

The Obama girls, Malia and Sasha, are not exempt from this – though Progressives everywhere wished they were.

Tennessee’s Stephen Fincher’s spokeswoman Elizabeth Lauten criticized the sister’s teenaged behavior as their father issued his annual Thanksgiving turkey “pardon.” In a social media posting, Lauten told the girls to “try showing a little class. At least respect the part you play.”

However, many think she took the chastising to far when she added, “Then again your mother and father don’t respect their positions very much or the nation foe [sic] that matter, so I’m guessing you’re coming up a little short in the ‘good role model’ department.”

Following the social media shit-storm she found herself in and a lengthy apology, Lauten resigned.

While there is nothing extraordinary about her resignation, as a father, I would never let her posting go unanswered as President Obama did, allowing instead, his minions to do battle on his behalf. Rather, I would have defended my kids and ripped her a new one.

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About Tom Darby

French-born, American-raised, U.S. citizen, husband, father, friend, veteran, and writer.
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