Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke announced his campaign for president earlier this week in a video featuring his wife sitting silently beside him for the entire duration, drawing ire online, The New York Times reports.
The Texas Democrat announced his campaign on Thursday, in a three-minute video in which he spoke directly to the camera with his wife, Amy, by his side.
Audrey Gelman, co-founder of the women’s co-working space The Wing, wrote on Twitter: “i am so sick of wives being forced to silently gaze!!! why even include her? ?? when i run for president my husband will be in the background feeding our cats”
Activist Jamira Burley said, “Sooooo Beto had his wife sit next to him in a more than 3min video, only for her to hold his hand and smile for the camera.”
The Times notes the similarities between Amy Sanders O’Rourke, Nancy Reagan and Barbara Bush, who all frequently offered silent support for their husbands during important moments. By contrast Jane Sanders, wife of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, one of O’Rourke’s rivals for the Democratic nomination, gave an address at her husband’s first campaign rally of this presidential race.
Critics also seized on O’Rourke’s recent joke that his wife raises their children “sometimes with my help,” pointing out that no female candidate could make the same remark without repercussions.
“I like that Beto talks about his wife like she's a high school friend he enjoys running into at coffee shops, whereas I, A Human Mother, am a bad person if I can't spend 10 hours a day coloring and running flash cards while also putting in 80 un-distracted hours a week at my job,” writer Sady Doyle said on Twitter.