Beto O'Rourke: "Vanity Fair" Cover Reinforced That Perception Of My Privilege, I Have A Lot To Learn


Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke appeared on "The View" Tuesday to address some of the criticism he's faced on the campaign trail. He said he regretted launching his campaign through a Vanity Fair cover, saying it "reinforced" the perception that he was privileged. He also apologized for saying that his wife raises their children "sometimes" with his help.

"[I] was attempting to say that I felt that my calling was in public service. No one is born to be President of the United States of America -- least of all me," he said.

MEGHAN MCCAIN: Mr. O'rourke, you've been a hot topic on the show. You did a "Vanity fair" cover to announce your campaign and you said you were, quote, "born to be in it." You went across the country alone on a road trip after you lost your election and you said you, quote, "sometimes help raise your kids." These are things in my mind that a female candidate wouldn't be able to get away with. Do you think you can get away with more because you're a man, and do you have any regrets about launching on the cover of "Vanity Fair"?

BETO O'ROURKE: 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 listen from them, the clearer that becomes to me. When women in this country are paid 80 cents on the dollar that a man makes, African-American women 61 cents, Latinas 53 cents, when you have ten times the wealth in white America than you do in black America, when you have the largest population in prison population on the face of the planet and it is disproportionate to people of color, the systematic foundational discrimination we have in this country in every aspect of life, it's something that I have not experienced in my lifetime.

I've had advantages that others could not enjoy, so being aware of that and then doing everything in my power to help correct that, working with others, ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment, for example, so that it is beyond the shadow of a doubt that women will be treated equally in this country. Staring in the face of the legacy of slavery and segregation and Jim Crow and continued oppression in our economy and system of justice is the only way you begin the work of repair and stop visiting those injustices on the generations that follow. So, yes, we have our work cut out for us in this country. I have my work cut out for me to be a better person and ensure that I'm more mindful to the experiences that others have had different than the experiences that I've had.

JOY BEHAR: Are those mistakes? Would you say those are mistakes, being on the cover of "Vanity Fair"? It looks elitist, what?

BETO O'ROURKE: Yeah, I think it reinforces that perception of privilege and that headline that said I was born to be in this, in the article I was attempting to say that I felt that my calling was in public service. No one is born to be president of the United States of America, least of all me.

JOY BEHAR: What about the part-time dad thing?

BETO O'ROURKE: Yeah, so listen --

SUNNY HOSTIN: You got some flack for that one.

BETO O'ROURKE: Absolutely, and I deserved it.

JOY BEHAR: I'm sure your wife wasn't thrilled.

BETO O'ROURKE: So listen, in -- in a real ham-handed way I was trying to acknowledge that she has the lion's share of the responsibility during this campaign.

JOY BEHAR: As most women do.

BETO O'ROURKE: That's right. And not only does she work, she is the principal caregiver to her kids, is supporting me, campaigns with me as she just did in New Hampshire this last weekend, and trying to acknowledge that by saying she's raising our kids, sometimes with my help, I called Amy after I got that criticism and I said tell me, am I saying this wrong? She said, I know what you're trying to say and I really appreciate where you're coming from, but the way in which you said it sounds flip. It minimizes what I'm doing and frankly what a lot of other women in this country are doing so you need to rethink this and say this differently. So listen, I have a lot to learn and still am and I'm learning --

SUNNY HOSTIN: She said that very nicely.

BETO O'ROURKE: That's right.

JOY BEHAR: Nicer than she would have.

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