Beto O'Rourke falsely called a furry by NRCC after Democrat opens bid for Presidency
On March 14th, following the announcement by Texas Democrat Beto O'Rourke that he plans on making a presidential run, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) made a tweet incorrectly claiming that the candidate is a furry. This claim stems from video of Beto in a sheep costume was released in January, however his purpose for wearing it had nothing to do with furry fandom activities.
Beto was a part of a band who donned their sheep costumes while performing punk covers on stage in El Paso. The intention was to hide their local demeanor an to play it off as if they were a New Zealand band from out of town, according to a Mother Jones interview. I suppose it's fitting if you are fleecing your band to be more exotic than it is, than a sheep outfit fits quite well.
The misappropriation of anyone wearing an animal costume being a furry seems to be a growing trend. It should be known that it is estimated that only 1 in 5 people who are in the furry fandom own an animal costume of their characters, and that the fandom is mostly about the fantasy of playing animal characters, or enjoying content that focus around animals that are given human characteristics. Fred Patten, one of the fandom's founders who recently passed on, didn't even have an animal character persona.
It also should be denoted that furry is not directly affiliated with either party of the U.S. partisan binary. There have been Republicans who have flirted with the fandom before more directly, including representative Kelly Townsend of Arizona who picked a lion fursona, while using art she did not commission; a faux pas in the fandom.
It's also important to note that someone wearing and animal costume does not necessarily make them furry. That would mean that there would be far more of us than there are. There are sports mascots, street-side performers, faking that your band is cooler than it is, or other such reasons one could wear an animal costume as well. It's sort of like how just because you're for small government doesn't mean you're a Republican, it only means that if there isn't one presiding in the White House.