Chelsea Clinton spoke about the massive scrutiny she underwent after her father became president when she was just 12 years old — recalling Rush Limbaugh’s “sinister” comments that she was the “dog of the White House.”
The author, 43, opened up about the downsides that came with growing up in the public eye during a recent appearance on Dear Media’s Slender Secret His and Hers Podcast with Lauren Evarts-Postic and her partner, Michael.
She explained that when her father, Bill, was elected as the 42nd President of the United States, people all over the world had “opinions” of her and her family.
In particular, famous political commentator Limbaugh referred to them as dogs during a television appearance in 1993.
Chelsea Clinton (seen in 1992) spoke about the enormous scrutiny she underwent after her father became president when she was just 12 years old
Chelsea (left in 2022), now 43, opened up about the downsides that came with growing up in the public eye during a recent appearance on the Lauren and Michael Bosstick (right) podcast.
The author explained that her father, Bill, was elected to be the 42nd President of the United States when she was just 12, which led to her having “opinions” around the world.
Most notably, popular political commentator Rush Limbaugh (seen in 2019) referred to her as “the dog of the White House” during a television appearance in 1993.
“Socks are the cat of the White House. But did you know there’s also a dog in the White House?” Limbaugh said at the time, while holding a snap of 12-year-old Chelsea.
“I don’t think adults should really have opinions about kids,” she said during her final podcast appearance, while reflecting on Limbaugh’s “creepy and inappropriate statement.”
Rush was very evil to me. He said terrible things to me about my appearance and called me the “dog of the White House” over and over again,” Chelsea continued.
I was 12 or 13 years old. I remember thinking, “This is so weird and wrong. Why is this old man so obsessed with me? This is so weird and scary and inappropriate.”
Chelsea explained that her parents were “furious” at what he said, adding that they did their best to “protect” her.
But it got worse as she got older. She said that people would show up on her campus and yell nasty things at her like, “Don’t you wish your mother had an abortion?”
Chelsea, now a mother of three, recalled around the time someone said to her, “I hope your children die so that the evil of your family does not continue.”
“What do you say when people say things like that? Like, I’m so sorry you have this much pain and anger inside of you, but I’m not going to get into that.
“I don’t think adults should have opinions about children,” Chelsea (seen in 2000) said during an appearance on the podcast, while reflecting on Limbaugh’s “creepy” comments.
Chelsea (seen at Stanford in 1999) said people would show up on her campus and yell nasty things at her
The mother-of-three (seen in 1996) once recalled someone saying to her, “Don’t you wish your mother had had an abortion?”
Chelsea explains that because her father was governor of Arkansas before he became president, she was in the public eye long before he led the nation.
Being scrutinized from a young age helped her develop her thicker skin.
“I was really lucky to grow up as the daughter of the governor of Arkansas because I grew up realizing on a deep cellular level that people were always watching me,” she said.
“I have memories of being a kid and people commenting on what I was wearing or what I looked like, and I remember thinking, ‘This is so weird. Why comment on what a six or seven year old does? “
I think that really prepared me for just the massive onslaught of attention and scrutiny when I lived in the White House.
While reflecting on her unusual upbringing, Chelsea said she “gives her parents a lot of credit” for trying to “ensure” that her childhood was “as normal as possible”.
She said that while they made her “aware” of how “privileged” she was in the White House and were very vocal about the “responsibility” that comes with it, they also encouraged her to participate in activities that any other kid would love to have.
Chelsea (seen with her mother as a child) explained that because her father was governor of Arkansas before he became president, she was in the public eye long before he led the nation
While reflecting on her upbringing, Chelsea said she “gives her parents a lot of credit” for trying to “ensure” her childhood was “as normal as possible”. The family was seen in 1997
She said that while they made her “aware” of how “privileged” she was in the White House, they also encouraged her to participate in activities any other child would.
She remembered that they had taught it to her, ‘You have to be respectful because we live in the White House. But also, it’s your home.
“It really helped me feel like I could bring my friends back,” she added.
I mean, we’re not going to be wild and crazy, we’re going to be respectful, but it was also my home.
My friends can come over to sleep and watch movies, or we can do homework or study for exams. And so it was very normal and also unusual.
She added that although it was “strange” to have the Secret Service around her at all times, they did their best to give her a normal childhood.
If I was at a friend’s house, the Secret Service wasn’t home with me or if I was at the White House, they weren’t on the same floor as me and my friends while we were studying or talking about boys or whatever we were doing,” she revealed.
And a lot of the agents that I was really lucky to grow up around were parents themselves and were deeply, not just sympathetic, but sympathetic to the dynamic. And I always knew they had work to do and I never ran away from them.