Beto O’Rourke’s presidential campaign “reset” has officially begun: during a Tuesday segment on The View—which is quickly turning into the platform where politicians make weird public apologies—the former congressman from Texas admitted that he has some regrets.
In response to a series of questions from Meghan McCain, O’Rourke addressed, among other things, his flip comments in Vanity Fair about how his wife is raising their three kids, “sometimes with my help.”
“There are things in my mind that a female candidate wouldn’t be able to get away with,” McCain said. “Do you think can get away with more because you’re a man? And do you have any regrets about launching on the cover of Vanity Fair?”
“You’re right, there are things that I’ve been privileged to do that others cannot,” O’Rourke responded. “I think that the more that I travel and listen to people and learn from them, the clearer that becomes to me.”
And he, uh, went on:
When women in this country are paid 80 cents on a 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 prison population on the face of the planet, and it’s disproportionately comprised of people of color.
The systematic foundational discrimination in this country, in every aspect of life, is something that I have not experienced in my lifetime. And I’ve had advantages that others cannot 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 it is beyond a shadow of a doubt that women will be treated equally in this country. Staring in the face of the legacy of slavery, segregation, and Jim Crow—
You get the idea. As well-intentioned as this diatribe was, it felt like O’Rourke was trying to cram every single talking point he could into a place where he was really just being asked about his own behavior and choices. (Like his quote about being “born to be in it,” which some understood to be a kind of arrogance about the presidency but O’Rourke said was really just about public service.)
After the monologue, Joy Behar soon steered him back to answer to the actual question. “In a real ham-handed way, I was trying to acknowledge that she has the lion share of responsibility during this campaign,” O’Rourke said. “Not only does she work, she’s the principal caregiver to our kids, she’s supporting me...”
O’Rourke said he spoke to his wife after his remarks, and while she apparently understood his point, he recalls her saying that, “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.”
“I have a lot to learn, still do, and I’m learning from the best,” O’Rourke added.
“She said that very nicely,” co-host Sunny Hostin demurred.
She sure did.