Former Utah Republican Representative Jason Chaffetz—now a conservative pundit for Fox News—received a sharp reminder during a recent episode of Outnumbered after he claimed Republicans never publicly criticize the spouses of their Democratic colleagues.
Chaffetz joined in on criticizing a Politico article about the potential impact of Casey DeSantis, the wife of Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, on his anticipated 2024 presidential campaign.
Claiming that attacks on political families are solely targeted at conservatives, Chaffetz was quickly confronted by fellow contributor Marie Harf, who reminded him of the conservative media's treatment of Michelle Obama during her time as the First Lady.
You can watch what happened in the video below.
During the discussion on the show, Chaffetz expressed his view that the families of politicians should be off-limits from criticism, implying that such attacks are exclusively directed at conservatives.
He asked and ultimately answered his own question:
"Do they ever do this to the Democrats? Oh no, no, no, no."
However, Marie Harf, a former Obama administration official, disagreed with Chaffetz's assertion and reminded him of the relentless conservative attacks on Michelle Obama during her time as the First Lady.
Harf stated, "Yes, yes they did," highlighting the fact that conservative media outlets made derogatory and racially charged comments about Michelle Obama.
Chaffetz, who previously chaired the House Oversight Committee, argued, "They do not," implying that conservative attacks on political spouses were nonexistent.
Harf promptly responded by questioning Chaffetz's selective memory, asking:
"Michelle Obama? I’m sorry, have we all, like, did we sleep through the eight years of Obama where conservative media said the most awful, racist, sexist things about Michelle Obama?"
Harf further emphasized her point by stating that women in politics, especially spouses, face an unjust standard that is inherently sexist:
“I don’t think any of this should be said. I think women in politics, especially spouses, are held to a standard that is sexist. It’s unfair. It’s not fair game on either side.”
“Obama was subjected to horrific things about her."
Chaffetz made no mention of his exchange with Harf when he later posted on Twitter that he'd had a "fun" time on Fox.
The criticism against him came swiftly.
Michelle Obama has candidly discussed the challenges she faced in dealing with racism and sexism while residing and working in the White House.
In 2017, reflecting on her tenure in the White House, she disclosed that the role exposed her to criticism that often escalated into overtly racist insults.
Obama specifically addressed the personal distress caused by racially charged attacks, such as derogatory comments likening her to an ape and objectifying her based on her physical appearance.
She observed that despite "dedicating eight years of hard work to this nation, there are still individuals who refuse to see beyond my skin color."