You don’t need to be Chuck Todd to know that a routine part of the annual dog and pony show that is the State of the Union address is the representatives of the president’s party standing and feverishly applauding (and, in Speaker Paul Ryan’s case, gazing starry-eyed at the back of President Trump’s head), and the opposing party letting their seated stone-faces register as protest. Nothing to see here; it happens every year. Nevertheless, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is acting newly appalled at the practice, and, in keeping with her solid-as-oak reputation as the kind of privileged white woman who likely would have voted for Roy Moore if she could have, she is singling out one of the highest-ranking women in the House Chamber last night, the Democratic leader, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, for her grim expression.
“I think she should smile a lot more often,” Huckabee Sanders told Chris Cuomo on CNN’s New Day when asked about the partisan lines in the Capitol. “I think the country would be better for it.”
While it’s abundantly clear that Huckabee Sanders is no Gloria Steinem, it’s fair to say it’s a . . . unique display of sexism to hear her adopting the tactics of your local catcaller. How weird that Huckabee Sanders chose to lob this tired insult at a female Democratic leader—and one who, like her or not, has been serving for almost as long as Huckabee Sanders has been alive—instead of a male counterpart, like Sen. Chuck Schumer (also caught on camera looking less than thrilled with the president’s performance). It’s ironic, too, given Huckabee Sanders’s own now infamous perma-grimace—but we’ve yet to hear White House reporters like Jim Acosta or April Ryan demanding she smile more. Nor should they: The right to resting bitch face is practically a new American ideal.
No surprise here, though, as Huckabee Sanders has also given us greatest hits like declaring the 16 women who accuse Trump of sexual harassment and misconduct liars and, generally, doing the bidding of an administration that is outright hostile to women’s health care, reproductive choice, and equal pay. Not much to smile about there, Sarah.