Here is a list of things people should criticize about Sarah Huckabee Sanders: she said the Civil War wasn’t about race, claimed all women accusing President Trump of sexual assault are lying, called for ESPN to fire anchor Jemele Hill after she criticized Trump, has made a career out of legitimizing the president’s lies, promotes his hateful policies, and generally acts as the mouthpiece for an increasingly authoritarian regime.
Here is a list of thing people shouldn’t criticize about Sanders: her weight.
It’s almost too obvious to even point out. Sanders is the official spokesperson of the Trump administration, which has, in 10 and a half short months, tried to ban Muslims from the country and transgender people from the military, worked to yank health insurance from millions of people, and nearly started a nuclear war with North Korea.
But Los Angeles Times columnist David Horsey decided to criticize Sanders for the worst possible reason in a (popular, for some reason!) column earlier this week.
“Sarah Huckabee Sanders does not look like the kind of woman Donald Trump would choose as his chief spokesperson,” Horsey wrote in a well-respected national newspaper. “Much like Roger Ailes when he was stocking the Fox News lineup with blond Barbie dolls in short, tight skirts, the president has generally exhibited a preference for sleek beauties with long legs and stiletto heels to represent his interests and act as his arm candy.”
Horsey goes on, saying that Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and wife, First Lady Melania Trump, are the “apotheosis of this type.”
“By comparison, Sanders looks more like a slightly chunky soccer mom who organizes snacks for the kids’ games,” Horsey inexplicably went on. “Rather than the fake eyelashes and formal dresses she puts on for news briefings, Sanders seems as if she’d be more comfortable in sweats and running shoes. Yet, even if Trump privately wishes he had a supermodel for a press secretary, he is lucky to have Sanders.”
He’s lucky, Horsey outlines in the rest of the column, because Sanders is an adept liar and comfortable misleading the press and backing up her boss. This is an excellent point! But it doesn’t matter, because Horsey decided to get his readers there by calling Sanders a “slightly chunky soccer mom.”
There’s a difference between being progressive and being partisan. Horsey, helping no one, serving no morally just cause, is leaning into the latter.
Before you dismiss Horsey as irrelevant, let’s check in on his bio on the LA Times website: “Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist and columnist David Horsey is a political commentator for the Los Angeles Times.”
Horsey isn’t the only “progressive” to criticize Sanders for her weight rather than her time defending a president who has repeatedly expressed sympathy for white nationalists.
Earlier this year, Saturday Night Live took aim at Sanders. In the sketch, Sanders, played by cast member Aidy Bryant, introduces herself saying, “My father is Mike Huckabee. My mother is a big Southern hamburger.” Bryant, as Sanders, then eats an apple during the mock press briefing.
CNN’s Chris Cuomo reacted to the sketch on his show, saying, “I will say this: you guys were mean about Huckabee Sanders… You were fat-shaming her. You were talking about how she looks and what she wears. I thought it was mean, not funny.”
So, in sum: an Emmy or a Pulitzer Prize is not a license to be jackass. Please, in the future, after you’ve faced exactly zero consequences for your partisan, sexist takes, see the aforementioned list of valid reasons to criticize Sanders. Her weight’s not on it.