Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar said Saturday that she “wasn't born to run” for the White House — drawing a pointed contrast with the words of fellow Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke.
“It was probably more when I got to college. When I was growing up, in high school, that's not what girls thought they were going to do,” Klobuchar, one of the five female lawmakers vying for the 2020 Democratic nomination, told host Chuck Todd in an interview set to air Sunday on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”
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“My parents, I think, thought it was a possibility. But I really didn't. And so for me, it's something that’s happened over time, as I've realized I can do things,” Klobuchar said. “I can get elected to the secretary treasurer of my high school class. I can move on from there. And so I think it's something that I didn't have from birth.”
The motivations for O’Rourke’s nascent candidacy have elicited criticism following an interview with Vanity Fair published on the eve of the announcement of his presidential campaign on Thursday. The former Texas congressman told the magazine he was “born to be in” the 2020 fray.
“I want to be in it,” he said in the cover story. “Man, I’m just born to be in it, and want to do everything I humanly can for this country at this moment.”
Those remarks, as well as comments he made last week about his parenting style, have been challenged in recent days as emblematic of white male privilege and historic double standards in the field of presidential politics.
Klobuchar — who has faced accusations of staff mistreatment that some have dismissed as sexist charges — said Saturday that she has “a lot of respect for Beto,” adding that “it's great to have some Texas in” the Democratic field. Former San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro, a Housing and Urban Development secretary under the Obama administration, is also running for president.
“But no, I wasn't born to run for office,” Klobuchar continued, “just because growing up in the '70s, in the middle of the country, I don't think many people thought a girl could be president. I wasn't born to run. But I am running.”