A month after cover star Miley Cyrus blasted President Trump as a “completely racist, sexist, hateful a**hole” in its March issue, Vanity Fair is handing the spotlight over to a man who hopes to kick him out of office: Beto O’Rourke.
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Though his bid to dethrone Ted Cruz as Texas’s junior senator last November ultimately proved unsuccessful, the 46-year-old rising star is banking on his sudden popularity to help take him from El Paso to the White House.
O’Rourke formally confirmed that he’s running for president in the 2020 election in a statement to El Paso’s KTSM. But it was Vanity Fair’s April cover, released just hours before his announcement, that really kickstarted the 2020 buzz.
The Texan wears blue jeans in his photo shoot with famed photographer Annie Leibovitz, while the cover line makes his political intentions clear. “I want to be in it,” he’s quoted as saying. “Man, I’m just born to be in it.”
“Man, I’m just born to be in it.” Beto O’Rourke seemed to come from nowhere to the brink of a presidential candidacy—but he’s been on this journey for his whole life. For our April issue, O’Rourke spoke with Joe Hagan. Photographs by Annie Leibovitz.
A post shared by Vanity Fair (@vanityfair) on Mar 13, 2019 at 7:21pm PDT
O’Rourke has some stiff competition, with Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and fellow Texan Julian Castro among those vying for the Democratic nomination.
And just as O’Rourke’s footage of his January visit to the dentist raised eyebrows, his starring role on a magazine that typically features Hollywood stars on its cover has some wondering if, to borrow a phrase popular in his home state, he’s all hat and no cattle.
like all scrappy salt-of-the-earth, organic campaigns with their pulse on the base Beto's is launched with a Vanity Fair cover spread
— Adam H. Johnson (@adamjohnsonNYC) March 14, 2019
My sense is that Beto O’Rourke doesn’t want to be president as much as he wants to be an indie movie about a guy running for president.
— Rex Huppke (@RexHuppke) March 14, 2019
Beto’s Vanity Fair cover is nice but I prefer John Hickenlooper completely naked on Nylon
— billy eichner (@billyeichner) March 14, 2019
Vanity Fair was right to take advantage of the opportunity to profile @BetoORourke.
But I gotta tell you, launching your presidential campaign (a campaign billed as by the people for the people) with a Vanity Fair cover story…that is a choice pic.twitter.com/h9TZlyrg8u
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) March 14, 2019
IMO, Beto O’Rouke actually suffers most acutely precisely because the media build up FEELS so orchestrated. (Which it almost certainly is.) Cold announcing to Democrats via Vanity Fair cover with Annie Liebowitz photo shoot just feels tone deaf to the 2019 zeitgeist. pic.twitter.com/RdOL6Mo94X
— 🌹 Clark Feels The Bern (@Clarknt67) March 13, 2019
10/10 populism for humble icon Beto O’Rourke timing his POTUS bid to coincide with his Vanity Fair cover shot by Annie Liebovitz.
— martin (@martin_txt) March 14, 2019
The cover has already gotten the meme treatment, too.
I made him little and in a movie you might know pic.twitter.com/7KLlvjnx4o
— Thor Benson (@thor_benson) March 13, 2019
Jokes and criticism aside, O’Rourke is very serious about his presidential campaign. Here’s the announcement video featuring the former Texas congressman and his wife, Amy Hoover Sanders.
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