Politicos and media figures were riveted by a White House Correspondents' Dinner roast on Saturday that eviscerated just about everybody within arm's reach. There's still a debate raging on the appropriateness of some jokes delivered by comedian and host Michelle Wolf, but one politician didn't hesitate to condemn a series of digs aimed at the White House press secretary, who also happens to be his daughter. On Sunday, Mike Huckabee responded to jokes made about Sarah Sanders, describing them as "tasteless, classless bullying."
The former governor of Arkansas, who is also a Christian minister, took to Twitter to send a series of tweets decrying Saturday night's dinner, and to come to his daughter's defense. "Those who think that the tasteless, classless bullying at the WHCD was an example of the 1st Amendment should never condemn bullying, bigoted comments, racist bile or hate speech," Huckabee wrote Sunday morning. "People should be free to speak but held accountable for it."
Huckabee also said that the types of jokes made at the WHCD were part of the reason that some people do not trust or respect members of the media:
The WHCD was supposed to celebrate the 1st Amendment. Instead they celebrated bullying, vulgarity, and hate. They got all dressed up so they would look nicer when they had a hired gun savagely attack their guests. Do they really wonder why America has no respect for them? Sad!
As he tweeted, Huckabee appeared to grow increasingly frustrated. The last tweet he sent, as of mid Sunday afternoon, referenced the phenomenon of eating Tide Pods, a trend which exists at the intersection of meme and public health hazard.
"After seeing the young female hired to verbally bully anyone who worked for @realDonaldTrump, I now understand why eating Tide Pods is popular," Huckabee tweeted. "That level of vulgarity is best handled with a mouth washed out w/ soap. Have some more Tide Pods."
Huckabee's tweets were in response to a series of back-to-back zingers that Wolf delivered, which went after Sanders for virtually every aspect of the work she does as press secretary:
And I’m never really sure what to call Sarah Huckabee Sanders, you know, is it Sarah Sanders, is it Sarah Huckabee Sanders, is it Cousin Huckabee, is it Auntie Huckabee Sanders? Like, what’s Uncle Tom but for white women who disappoint other white women? Oh, I know, Aunt Coulter.
A lot of viewers weren't entirely sure how to respond to some of Wolf's jokes about Sanders. Critics believed that the jokes unfairly attacked Sanders' appearance — particularly those referencing her eyeshadow and comparing her to a character on The Handmaid's Tale. (The character in question was Aunt Lydia, a woman that brainwashes the story's "handmaids" into believing they must essentially be reproductive slaves in the dystopian society they live in.)
"We are graced with Sarah’s presence tonight," Wolf said at Saturday's dinner. "I have to say, I’m a little starstruck. I love you as Aunt Lydia in The Handmaid’s Tale."
As for Sanders' eyeshadow, Wolf joked that the press secretary does her makeup from the remnants of "facts." "I actually really like Sarah. I think she’s very resourceful. [She] burns facts, and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smoky eye. Like, maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s lies," Wolf said. "It's probably lies."
Members of both the press and the political sphere expressed discomfort about some of the cracks, which many felt were low blows because they related to Sanders' appearance. The following day, Wolf responded to some of the criticism on Twitter. When New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman tweeted that Sanders "sat and absorbed intense criticism of her physical appearance, her job performance, and so forth, instead of walking out, on national television, was impressive," Wolf contested that assessment of her monologue.
"Hey mags! All these jokes were about her despicable behavior. Sounds like you have some thoughts about her looks though?," Wolf tweeted, with a "kiss" emoji at the end.
As of Sunday, Wolf had not publicly responded to Huckabee's criticisms, though the Internet continued to be as divided as ever over the jokes. But as is often the case, especially with comedy, it's unlikely that all critics will ever be entirely satisfied.