If he had a chance at a do-over, Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke said he would not have launched his presidential campaign on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine because it reeked of “privilege.”
“Yeah, I think it reinforces that perception of privilege,” O’Rourke told the co-hosts of ABC’s The View, explaining that the perception that it created flew in the face of the very real discrimination that women and people of color experience in the United States.
“In the article I was attempting to say that I felt that my calling was in public service,” O’Rourke added, elaborating on the quote in the magazine article where he inferred he was born to be president. “No one is born to be president of the United States of America, least of all me.”
O’Rourke, a former Texas congressman, who unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Senate in the 2018 midterms, seeking to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz. But when he announced his run for president this year, he faced backlash for his announcement approach and the white male privilege that it evoked among some.
Co-host Meghan McCain asked him about his approach and delved into his cross-country road trip after losing to Cruz, suggesting that a “female candidate wouldn’t be able to get away with that.” O’Rourke agreed.
“You’re right, there are things that I have been privileged to do in my life that others cannot, and I think the more that I travel and listen to people and learn from them, the clearer that becomes to me,” O’Rourke said, citing gender inequities like wage discrimination as an example. He went on to discuss the legacy of slavery and the bigotry still faced by people of color.
Even still, O’Rourke let it be known that if he was ultimately successful in earning the Democratic nomination, he would definitely consider Stacey Abrams on his ticket.
“There are a number of women who aren’t running, who may run, including Stacey Abrams, who is a real hero to me,” O’Rourke told The View. “The grace with which she met that defeat on an unfair, unlevel playing field,” when she ran for governor of Georgia was admirable, Beto said. “Her focus on democracy forum, a new voting rights act, ensuring that every single vote counts in this country, is inspiring stuff at a time that our democracy is so badly broken.”
“If I were fortunate enough to be the nominee, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where I wouldn’t be fortunate enough to also be able to run with one of these extraordinary women in our country,” he added.