President Barack Obama phoned California Attorney General Kamala Harris on Thursday night to apologize for calling her the most attractive attorney general in the country.
“He called her last night and spoke to her,” White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters on Friday. “He apologized for the buzz this has created. They are old friends….He believes and fully recognizes that there are challenges women continue to face in the workplace and that they should not be judged on appearance. He apologized for creating this distraction and believes very strongly that Attorney General Harris is an excellent attorney general and that she has done great work and is dedicated and tough and brilliant.”
Obama caused a stir during a fundraising trip Thursday when he said that Harris “also happens to be, by far, the best looking attorney general….It’s true! C’mon.”
“Women have a hard time being judged purely on their merits,” New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait wrote. “Discussing their appearance in the context of evaluating their job performance makes it worse.”
The hosts of Fox & Friends, however, found the comments harmless.
“Yeah, big deal. Yeah, she is. She does happen to be good lookin,” Gretchen Carlson, the lone female host, said Friday. “I just think we’ve come to a place in society where everyone is so ultimately sensitive that you can’t say anything anymore. She is! She’s pretty! So what?”