This week representatives of historically black colleges and universities dressed in formal suits and ties to honor the Oval Office and its current resident. And then there’s KellyAnne Conway.
The petite White House counselor upstaged them all by kicking off her shoes and climbing onto the couch, squatting with knees splayed in her dress ostensibly to snap a quick picture with her cell phone to preserve the august moment. The New York Post is absolutely right to question whether KellyAnne was raised in a barn.
— ABC 7 Chicago (@ABC7Chicago) February 28, 2017
Fox News luminaries such as Adam Housley and others dutifully defended KellyAnne’s obliviousness by pointing out that the reason she climbed onto the couch was to snap a picture…as if that makes it all right. It seems they rushed to her defense out of pure partisanship. They miss the point.
The Oval Office is the epicenter of freedom in the world. It is not your living room or your backyard.
We mothers who valiantly insist on standards of decorum do so to teach tradition and culture and politeness to the next generation. In a world of WWF wrestling and Dr. Phil reality star heroes, it is very difficult to raise young men and women with any sense of decorum for formal settings. It is a mother’s ongoing struggle to get kids to wear slacks and dresses to church, to shake hands, to use polite table manners, and to their keep feet off the furniture.
There are basic American standards of polite behavior. One of them is you don’t climb on other people’s furniture when you go over to their house. Even if you’re taking a picture. It’s just rude. Former President Ronald Reagan understood. It was said he never entered the Oval Office without a coat and tie.
We have rightly criticized former President Obama for putting his feet on the Resolute Desk. Ms. Conway was certainly caught up in the moment and was selflessly trying to capture the visitors’ important moment on camera for posterity. Nevertheless, she wasn’t thinking of the American people’s house or of its unique place in history. KellyAnne should have known better. This was an unforced error.