Jess McIntosh, who served as director of communications outreach for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, said Thursday that Beto O’Rourke’s identity as a white man will likely harm the former Texas congressman’s 2020 presidential campaign.
“We have the most exciting, diverse field of candidates right now. And he has rightfully acknowledged that there might be a little bit of a misstep with him being a white guy and maybe that’s not the face of the new Democratic party,” McIntosh told CNN’s Poppy Harlow when asked whether O’Rourke’s race and gender will be an impediment to his recently announced presidential candidacy.
As McIntosh noted, O’Rourke acknowledged during a recent interview with Vanity Fair that his race and gender will likely hinder his ability to court progressive voters, but said he wouldn’t blame them for voting against him based on his immutable characteristics.
“The government at all levels is overly represented by white men,” O’Rourke said. “That’s part of the problem, and I’m a white man. So if I were to run, I think it’s just so important that those who would comprise my team looked like this country. If I were to run, if I were to win, that my administration looks like this country. It’s the only way I know to meet that challenge.”
“But I totally understand people who will make a decision based on the fact that almost every single one of our presidents has been a white man, and they want something different for this country,” he continued. “And I think that’s a very legitimate basis upon which to make a decision. Especially in the fact that there are some really great candidates out there right now.”
O’Rourke kicked off his presidential campaign Thursday with a rally in Kiokuk, Iowa, the first stop on a three-day tour through the Eastern part of the first state in the nation to vote for presidential nominees.