U.S.

Beto O'Rourke Says He Totally Understands If Americans Don't Want Another White Man for President: 'They Want Something Different'

Former Representative Beto O'Rourke of Texas officially threw his hat into the presidential ring for 2020 on Thursday morning, joining a crowded field of Democratic contenders hoping to unseat President Donald Trump.

Yet in an interview this week with Vanity Fair, O'Rourke, 46, said he could already think of at least one reason why Americans might not want to see him in the Oval Office: He's another "white man."

The U.S. 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," O'Rourke acknowledged

Noting that "there are some really great candidates out there right now," including candidates of color and women who would be able to bring greater diversity to the U.S.'s all-male and predominantly white presidential line of succession, O'Rourke said he understood why people would not want another white man for president. 

"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 said. "And I think that’s a very legitimate basis upon which to make a decision."

O'Rourke said that if he was elected, he would strive to ensure that his administration "looked like this country.

"It's the only way I know to meet that challenge," he added.

O'Rourke confirmed his plans to throw his hat in the ring for the 2020 presidential race in a text message to Texas TV station KTMS of El Paso on Wednesday. 

O'Rourke, who grew up in El Paso and served on its city council for six years before he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012, told the TV station that he was proud of what the city represented, calling it "a big part of why I'm running. This city is the best example of this country at its best." 

When O'Rourke officially announced his presidential run in a Thursday morning on-camera appearance with his wife, Amy, by his side, he said he was proud to share that he was "running to serve" Americans "as the next president of the United States of America.

"This is a defining moment of truth for this country and for every single one of us," he said. "The challenges that we face right now, the interconnected crises in our economy, our democracy and our climate have never been greater and they will either consume us or they will afford us the greatest opportunity to unleash the genius of the United States of America.

"In other words, this moment of peril produces, perhaps, the greatest moment of promise for this country and for everyone inside of it," he said. 

While O'Rourke has been touted for months as a potential contender to take on Trump, recent polling averages for the Democratic presidential candidates currently show Texas candidate trailing, in sixth place, behind former Vice President Joe Biden (who has yet to officially announce his candidacy), Senators Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker.

GettyImages-1134764094 (1) Beto O'Rourke attends the "Running With Beto" premiere 2019 SXSW Conference and Festivals at the Paramount Theatre on March 9, in Austin, Texas. O'Rourke has officially entered the 2020 presidential race for the Democratic nomination. Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty

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