At a time when seemingly every aspect of American life breaks along fairly predictable partisan lines, there's something refreshingly quixotic about the fractured reaction to this photo of White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway kneeling on a couch in the Oval Office, after snapping a smartphone photo of President Trump and the leaders of black colleges and universities.
"I don't care how Kellyanne Conway sits on a sofa in the Oval Office and can't imagine why it would bother people," tweeted New York's Jonathan Chait, a liberal. Amanda Carpenter, a conservative political operative, responded to a #CouchGate post from the The Reagan Battalion by rolling her eyes: "She was getting a picture, [people]. Calm down." Last Week Tonight writer Josh Gondelman quipped that he'd "only be able to get mad at the way Kellyanne Conway sits on a couch if it turns out she's hiding... Trump's tax returns under her."
On the other hand, Conway clearly had her shoes on the Oval Office couch, and some people viewed that as a sign of disrespect for the office, especially since there was no obvious reason she needed to be snapping a photo with her phone, or to snap it from the couch:
Several commentators recalled the conservative outrage when former President Barack Obama was photographed with his feet on his desk in the Oval Office, while others, like Rachel Vorona Cote at Jezebel, bristled at what she called Conway's "alternative decorum" and purported lack of respect for "the country's most esteemed African American educators" gathered in the room. Bret Stephens, the Wall Street Journal columnist and deputy editorial page editor, was similarly unimpressed:
But hey, at least we've all stopped arguing about that white-and-gold dress.