WATCH: Pregnant wife of Republican presidential hopeful faints during campaign announcement
One of the newest Republican presidential hopefuls to enter the GOP primary field has come under scrutiny after critics accused him of being too slow to assist his pregnant wife, who fainted during his campaign announcement.
Video footage of West Virginia businessman Rollan Roberts II announcing his presidential campaign went viral last week after his pregnant wife was seen in the background collapsing to the ground. Critics were quick to jump on the video, accusing Rollan of taking too long to assist her.
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Roberts announced his White House bid from inside the West Virginia Capitol building on Jan. 20 alongside his wife Rebecca Lea Roberts, who is five months pregnant. During his speech, Roberts is seen in the background beginning to wobble and trying to catch her balance before she falls to the ground.
One of Rollan Roberts’s aides tried to catch Rebecca before she fell, beginning to assist her as she laid on the ground. However, it took several seconds before Rollan Roberts ventured away from the podium to check on his wife — prompting widespread criticism on the internet.
“You probably missed this but another Republican announced he was running for President while his pregnant wife literally passed out in the background,” said Santiago Mayer, executive director of Voters Tomorrow, in a tweet.
“I love that no fewer than four people went to her aid before he bothered to,” actor Christian Lanz said in a response to the post.
Rollan Roberts came under increased scrutiny after his campaign posted video of the announcement but edited out his wife’s fall.
“He has a YouTube video of the speech on his page but edited out the poor woman passing out,” one Twitter user said. “But at least someone got her a chair so she could complete her duty.”
Rebecca Roberts responded to the online criticism, calling the “unjust” scrutiny over his response time “infuriating.”
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“I was standing behind him, and given the movement all around us throughout the announcement, there was no way for him to see what was happening,” she said in a statement. “If people would watch the full video, they’ll see him move towards me within seconds once he saw what was happening, and that he is the one that helped me up, stopped the press conference, and spent minutes with the medical team to see if we would even continue.”
Rollan Roberts is one of the first Republican presidential candidates to throw their hat in the ring to challenge former President Donald Trump in 2024. The GOP primary field is expected to grow far more crowded in the coming months.