The former is the 58-year-old husband of Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, a possible presidential candidate in 2020. The latter is the 53-year-old husband of New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a probable presidential candidate in 2020. Which one will become the nation’s first First Gentleman? And how much of a say will they have in the answer to that question?
As you might imagine, both are accomplished in their own rite. Bessler is a professor of law at both University of Baltimore School of Law and Georgetown University Law Center. Gillibrand is a venture capitalist, who received an MBA from Columbia University. But it is safe to say the professional accomplishments of the presidential hopefuls’ spouses pale in comparison to their senator wives. It would seem that both men are indeed comfortable in their skin of supportive, in-the-background partners for their wives. But Bessler is by far and away more politically well versed than Gillibrand, who is rumored not to be especially keen on politics.
Gillibrand might also have some issues with optics. Being a venture capitalist, he and his wife have used (legally) some tax laws to their advantage, though there have been stretches when he was earning next to no money. He has also been an active stock trader. There is nothing inherently wrong with any of this but one can imagine how political opponents might be tempted to spin the information in a less than complimentary manner. (Ya think?!) It will also be interesting to see how the public responds to Gillibrand being a British national. That said, the Gillibrands have been married for 18 years and are by all accounts great parents to their two children.
Meanwhile, John Bessler, married to Amy Klobuchar for 25 years and proud parents of a daughter, is a prolific writer but of the sort of books that are considered dry even by C-Span standards. But that may actually be a good thing. If his wife runs for the White House, anything and everything he has ever said or written will come under the microscope of the media.
So in the likelihood of the United States finally electing its first woman president, the country will also have its first First Gentleman. It’ll be interesting to see for whoever he is will be making it up as he goes along.