For former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke, the heat is on.
On Thursday O’Rourke announced that he is running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
On Friday he was already forced to apologize for comments he made about his wife, and to explain some questionable things he did as a teenager.
He acknowledged he had made some mistakes as a teen and that his campaign comments about his wife were not appropriate.
The young candidate was in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, taping a “Political Party Live” podcast when he addressed head-on the criticism he’s been receiving about the attempted joke he made about his wife, Amy. He said she has raised their three kids “sometimes with my help.” He was trying to be funny and give Amy credit for her hard work, but his attempts at humor backfired.
O’Rourke had made the comment several times during his campaign swing through Iowa, and although he did get laughs he also drew criticism for being insensitive. Critics said he came across as oblivious to the challenges faced by single parents forced to raise children on their own.
O’Rourke admitted that criticisms about his “ham-handed” attempt to point out his wife’s hard work in their marriage were “right on.”
“Not only will I not say that again, but I will be much more thoughtful in the ways that I talk about my marriage,” he said.
O’Rourke also revealed that he was “mortified” when he reread the violent short story he wrote as a 15 year-old high school student. The short piece of fiction was disclosed in the media on Friday.
Also reported on Friday was his involvement in a computer hacking group he participated in as a teenager. He had written several postings on the group’s message board under the name “Psychedelic Warlord.”
One of his postings was a piece of fiction he wrote when he was 15 about children getting run over by a car.
“I’m mortified to read it now, incredibly embarrassed, but I have to take ownership of my words,” O’Rourke said. “Whatever my intention was as a teenager doesn’t matter, I have to look long and hard at my actions, at the language I have used, and I have to constantly try to do better.”
O’Rourke had said after an earlier campaign stop that it was “stuff I was part of as a teenager.”
“It’s not anything I’m proud of today, and I mean, that’s — that’s the long and short of it,” he said. “All I can do is my best, which is what I’m trying to do. I can’t control anything I’ve done in the past. I can only control what I do going forward and what I plan to do is give this my best.”
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.