The Los Angeles Times‘ David Horsey called Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders as a “slightly chunky soccer mom who organizes snacks for the kids’ games” in his new column. Unsurprisingly, women on both sides of the political aisle aren’t pleased.
The piece, published on Nov. 1, argues that President Donald Trump is lucky to have Huckabee Sanders in his corner as press secretary because she is “comfortable with saying things that are demonstrably not true.” But Horsey, a Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist, felt compelled to open his piece with demeaning comments about Huckabee Sanders’ physical appearance.
“Sarah Huckabee Sanders does not look like the kind of woman Donald Trump would choose as his chief spokesperson. 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,” he wrote. “By comparison, Sanders looks more like a slightly chunky soccer mom who organizes snacks for the kids’ games.”
“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,” he added.
Social media users widely criticized the piece as sexist.
After Motto reached out to Horsey and the Los Angeles Times for comment, an apology from Horsey was added to the column and the section about Huckabee Sanders’ appearance was removed. “I want to apologize to Times readers — and to Sarah Huckabee Sanders — for a description that was insensitive and failed to meet the standards of our newspaper,” Horsey said. “It also failed to meet the expectations I have for myself. It surely won’t be my last mistake, but this particular error will be scrupulously avoided in my future commentaries. I’ve removed the offending description.”
To be clear, criticizing a woman’s work doesn’t have to be sexist. But criticizing her physical appearance always is.