Photo Essay: The Few and Mighty: Interracial Political Families

Don’t let the de Blasios fool you: Interracial families in politics are rare. But here are a few we rounded up.

They say all is fair in love and politics—well, that’s not the exact phrase, but the emergence of New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio and his wife, Chirlane McCray, on the political scene, sheds light on the beauty of the human heart to find its true counterpart, regardless of race or political affiliation.

The Root rounded up a list of politicians who are in interracial relationships and some who have had members of other races and ethnicities become a member of their immediate family. They are few and far between, so if you blink, you might miss them.

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    Mike Coppola/Getty Images

    Jeb and Columba Bush

    George W. Bush’s younger brother, Jeb Bush, married Columba Garnica Gallo, a Mexican-born woman, in 1974. They met in Mexico while Bush was teaching English in a foreign-exchange program. Their eldest son, George P. Bush, is often brought up in discussions about who might be the first Republican Hispanic presidential candidate with a plausible chance of winning a national election, given his Bush backing and his white and Latino ancestry. He could single-handedly bridge the gap between the Republican Party and Hispanics, a constituency that conservatives have had trouble courting in the past. 

    An interracial Bush family is interesting, because during the 2000 Republican presidential primaries, Sen. John McCain suspected that Bush operatives spread rumors that his Bangladesh-born, adopted daughter, Bridget, was conceived from an adulterous affair McCain had with another woman. There was silly talk about how Bridget’s complexion was darker than that of the biological McCain kids. Folks accused the Bush campaign of using racial tactics to make people leery of McCain. There’s been bad blood between John McCain and the Bush family ever since. 

     

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    Love4utah.com, The official campaign site for Republican Mia Love.

    Utah Mayor Mia Love and her beau, Jason Love  

    Utah Mayor Mia Love, who plans to launch her second bid for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2014, married her beau, Jason Love, a white man, in 1998.

    Shortly after college, Love moved to Utah to join a religious community that anchored her more closely to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. There she met Jason, a LSD missionary, and they were married several months later. 

    A daughter of Haitian immigrants, Love describes how her father instilled certain values in her that happen to align with the Republican ethos. Her father once told her, “Mia, your mother and I never took a handout. You will not be a burden to society. You will give back.” Love’s speech at the 2012 Republican National Convention was popular. If the GOP ever came to terms with how the census will look in 50 years, perhaps they’d trot her out as a contender for president. 

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    Laura Segall/Getty Images

    John McCain and His Bangladesh-Born Daughter, Bridget   

    It was Sen. John McCain’s wife, Cindy McCain, who brought home a Bangladesh baby and informed her husband of the adoption. Sen. McCain describes how he looked at the baby and knew that she was meant to be a part of their family. 

    Bridget McCain is not as vocal as her older sister, Meghan, who routinely appears on the press circuit to talk politics. But Bridget can be seen standing alongside her mom, dad and siblings at political events. She is perhaps best known as being at the epicenter of the faux controversy created during her dad’s candidacy in the GOP presidential primaries in 2000. The rumors about Bridget bothered Sen. John McCain so much that he was hesitant to use any tactic or strategy that would touch on race to denounce then-Sen. Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential elections. 

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    Paul J. Richards/Getty Images

    Clarence and Virginia Thomas

    U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas married Virginia Thomas, an avid supporter of Republican causes, in 1987. Virginia Thomas started two lobbying organizations to advance the conservative agenda.

    Virginia Thomas cried during her husband’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings in which Justice Thomas’ former colleague accused him of sexual harassment.

     

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    Kevin Winter/Getty Images

    William Cohen and Janet Langhart Cohen  

    This round-up is awfully incestuous. There’s that bad blood between the Bushes and the McCains, and here, William Cohen, a former U.S. Secretary of Defense and former U.S. Senator, was the best man at Sen. John McCain’s wedding to Cindy.

    Cohen married Janet Langhart Cohen, a black woman and former BET correspondent, in 1996. Janet Langhart Cohen was reportedly known as the “first lady of the Pentagon” during Cohen’s tenure as the defense secretary. 

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    Spencer Platt/Getty Images

    Bill de Blasio and his Wife, Chirlane   

    New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio and his wife, Chirlane, are probably the most visible interracial couple on the political scene. Some say de Blasio has used his interracial family as a strategy to demonstrate his inclusiveness and sensitivity toward minorities, particularly in the context of the controversy around the city’s stop-and-frisk laws.

    De Blasio’s biracial son and daughter have both appeared in advertisements expressing support of their dad. His son’s Afro is practically an entity unto itself

     

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    Screenshot of Lindsey and John Boehner; Screenshot of Dominic Lakhan

    John Boehner's Black Son-In-Law  

    Speaker of the House John Boehner’s daughter, Lindsay Marie Boehner, married Dominic Lakhan, a Jamaican-born man, in May. He has dreadlocks, and probably doesn’t look to some like the type to marry into America’s political elite. But, alas, love trumps all.