On the Fourth of July, Marianne Williamson, an activist, humanitarian, New York Times bestselling author, and candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, pulled off an epic troll. On Monday, Vogue magazine had published an in-depth interview with five female 2020 candidates entitled “Madam President? Five Candidates on What It Will Take to Shatter the Most Stubborn Glass Ceiling.” The Vogue piece — and its flashy campaign photos — excluded one female candidate, Williamson.
The candidate admitted her exclusion was a bit of a sore spot in an interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett on Wednesday.
“I saw it online just like everybody else … nobody talked to me,” Williamson admitted.
“No one reached out to you, no one gave you an answer?” Burnett pressed.
“When we asked about it, we were told that their decision was to make it only about the elected officials. And that I do challenge,” she responded.
Burnett quoted a statement from Vogue, denying any snub to the candidate.
“We’re in no way discrediting Marianne Williamson and all she’s accomplished. For the photo, Vogue wanted to highlight the five female lawmakers who bring a collective 40 years of political experience to this race,” the statement ran.
The snubbed candidate did not take that response well. “The framers of the Constitution were very clear about who’s qualified to run for president, and they did not make any media, certainly not Vogue magazine, the gatekeeper here,” she said. “The framers of the Constitution said that in order to run for president, in order to be qualified to be president, you have to have been born here, you had to have lived here for 14 years, and you have to be 35 years or older.”
“Now, if they had wanted to say you have to be an elected official, they would have,” Williamson insisted. “And they didn’t for a reason. They were leaving it to every generation to determine for itself the skill set that generation feels is most necessary in order to navigate the times in which we live and that kind of bias on the part of media — it’s very insidious, it’s very subtle.”
She went on to quote former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt: “The primary role, he said, is moral leadership.”
Williamson is spot on about the Constitution, although whether or not Vogue is trying to be a gatekeeper is very much up for debate. Even so, it seems an unjust insult for the magazine to exclude Williamson. After all, Vogue is a fashion magazine, not a political or Capitol Hill rag. Williamson could end up being the one to break the presidential “glass ceiling.” She may be polling at 0.2 percent now, but Gillibrand is only at 0.4 percent, according to the RealClearPolitics average.
"I just saw it online like everybody else… nobody talked to me."@marwilliamson, on being the only female presidential candidate excluded from a Vogue story.
"When we asked… we were told the decision was to make it only about the elected officials." https://t.co/GNU0Nwmm0m pic.twitter.com/DvLyc8eHVG
— CNN (@CNN) July 3, 2019
Vogue‘s photos included Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii). Actress Frances Fisher tweeted a doctored version of the photo with Williamson looking in from the window.
No, that’s @marwilliamson #WomenSupportingWomen? 🤔#WhereIsMarianne?#APictureIsWorth1000Words pic.twitter.com/FZFuv6MKCs
— Frances Fisher (@Frances_Fisher) July 2, 2019
The candidate herself took the trolling a step further, however. In an Instagram post, she shared a photo of herself pictured in the wall behind the other female candidates. (Click the arrows to the right to see the image.)
View this post on Instagram
This was the perfect response, since it suggests Williamson is the most legitimate female candidate. With her portrait on the wall, Williamson is suggesting she will win the 2020 presidential race, outshining the other candidates Vogue preferred.
.@voguemagazine excludes @marwilliamson. @Frances_Fisher posts the Vogue photo with Williamson on the outside looking in. Williamson responds by putting herself in the photo on the wall, suggesting she's the real winner and the others are pretenders. Well done — epic. pic.twitter.com/sDOVnAGFFJ
— Tyler O'Neil (@Tyler2ONeil) July 5, 2019
When asked about the doctored photo, Williamson’s campaign admitted they weren’t responsible for it. “The campaign didn’t create the meme. All credit goes to the people of the internet who never fail to deliver,” a spokesperson said.
Williamson has qualified for the second round of debates in July. Some have suggested she will not make it to the fall for the third and fourth round of debates, but that remains to be seen. Republicans have started contributing to her campaign in an effort to keep her in the debates. Wheel of Fortune actor and conservative donor Pat Sajak has encouraged Americans to contribute to her campaign.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.