While there were numerous reasons for conservative writer David French to not run for president, one likely rationale was the heat of the political spotlight on him and his family.
French's wife Nancy reacted to the scrutiny on Monday in an op-ed piece in The Christian Post titled "Politico Reporter Mocked and Lied About My Marriage to David French," in which she decries the media scrutiny and social media trolls.
As soon as his name leaked, pundits tried to figure out ways to pummel him," Nancy French wrote.
After Bloomberg broke the story that Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol was pushing David French to run as an independent conservative against Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, reporters started digging into French's past.
Politico reporter Kevin Robillard found a passage in a National Review story from 2011, which mentioned how the Frenches set boundaries for their marriage before David French was deployed to Iraq with the Army.
He followed up an hour later with this:
A female reporter friend weighs in on these rules. pic.twitter.com/aEUdDdOYAQ— Kevin Robillard (@PoliticoKevin) May 31, 2016
Robillard later admitted he was getting some strong pushback for his original tweet:
Getting some fair criticism that this is a totally legitimate agreement for a married couple to make. I agree! Still interesting!— Kevin Robillard (@PoliticoKevin) May 31, 2016
But Nancy French said the damage was done. Robillard's tweets had unleashed the trolls.
"In addition to Twitter trolls, other publications ran with this false narrative," she wrote. "In the 'Five Things You Need to Know about Nancy French,' [on another site] number two was "When Her Husband Was In Iraq, She Wasn't Allowed to Use Facebook or E-Mail Men."
French, who said she did email and exchange Facebook messages with men while her husband was deployed, added that it was these sort of comments that steered people away from politics.
"If you ever wonder how we ended up with such unlikeable candidates or why normal Americans won't consider running for elected office, ask Politico," she wrote.