White House Watch: Beto Jumps In - Mayor Pete Qualifies For DNC Debates

Beto O’Rourke. Photo Via Facebook

Beto O’Rourke jumped into the U.S. presidential campaign last week, releasing a video alongside his wife, Amy. The video, with the O’Rourkes seated on a couch inside their El Paso, Texas home, was a little over three minutes with Beto doing all the talking.

“At this moment of maximum peril and maximum potential let’s show ourselves and those who will succeed us in this great country just who we are and what we can do,” O’Rourke said.

The video was lampooned by late night comedians and President Donald Trump for Beto’s aggressive and frequent use of hand and arm gestures. Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democratic Senator, piled on, telling NBC News moderator Chuck Todd, she differed with O’Rourke’s declaration that he was “born to run.”

O’Rourke, 46, gave up his U.S. Congressional seat to campaign against U.S. Senator Ted Cruz in the 2018 elections. His campaign garnered national attention and 48 percent of the vote against Cruz, a Republican, who had previously sought the Republican party’s nomination for President.

“This is a defining moment of truth for this country and every single one of us,” O’Rourke said in his campaign announcement video. “The inter-connected 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.”

Meanwhile, Trump welcomed Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar. Varadkar, a gay man, said his story is possible because Ireland is a country where “freedom and liberty are cherished.” Varadkar and his domestic partner, Matthew Barrett, were hosted by Vice President Mike Pence at the Naval Observatory.

“We are all God’s children,” Varadkar remarked.

Elsewhere, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg (pronouncedBuddha Judge) announced he had reached the threshold of 65,000 donors required to be invited to the Democratic party debates. Buttigieg, 37, is a Harvard educated, Naval reservist and former food analyst for the management consulting firm McKinsey & Company.

On March 13, Buttigieg released the following statement concerning the Equality Act, a legislative effort to provide federal protections for LGBT Americans in matters of housing, employment and public accommodations:

"Fifty years ago, courageous gay and transgender people stood up at Stonewall for the right to be recognized as equal Americans. It's time to finally implement a federal Equality Act that extends civil rights protections to all Americans, regardless of their gender identity and sexual orientation. This bill is commonsense, bipartisan, and will ensure that LGBTQ+ Americans in the thirty states like Indiana where discrimination is effectively legal will have the same rights and protections as the rest of America. In this country, you should not be discriminated against because of who you are or who you love,” Buttigieg said.

There are now more than 15 major Democratic candidates campaigning for Presidential consideration. Former Vice President Joe Biden is also teasing a third run. The Democratic party announced last week that Milwaukee, Wisconsin would host its 2020 convention.

LGBT Field Notes 

Ron Gunzburger ended his role with the Broward Sheriff’s Office last week. Gunzburger served as general counsel to former Broward Sheriff Scott Israel. He has accepted an offer to work full-time as senior advisor to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. Some have urged Hogan to challenge Donald Trump in the Republican primary. Gunzburger posted on Facebook that he and his spouse Dana have purchased a home in Annapolis, Md. 

“My time at BSO was an incredible ride and I truly enjoyed it and the amazing people I worked with. I am fortunate to leave BSO with high hopes, in great spirit, and with very much gratefulness in my heart for having had this opportunity. To those I served with: I will always be appreciative of your friendship and support. You will always have a fond place in my thoughts ... and may your best days always be ahead,” Gunzburger posted March 15.