Aug 11, 2019

Beto O'Rourke: Trump's "bizarre behavior" a distraction from real problems

2020 candidate Beto O'Rourke told CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday that President Trump's "bizarre behavior," including his retweet of an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory about Jeffrey Epstein's death, is a distraction for the American people who want to see real solutions on gun violence and white nationalism.

TAPPER: "I do want to get your reaction to the president retweeting this unhinged conspiracy theory, without any evidence, linking [Jeffrey] Epstein's death by apparent suicide to a murder by the Clintons. What was your reaction when you saw the tweets?"
O'ROURKE: "This is another example of our president using this position of public trust to attack his political enemies with unfounded conspiracy theories. And also to try to force you and me and all of us to focus on his bizarre behavior instead of the fact that we just lost 22 people in this community, 9 people in Dayton, Ohio. We're seeing an epidemic of gun violence every single day in this country. ... He's changing the conversation, and if we allow him to do that, then we will never be able to focus on the true problems, of which he is a part."

The big picture: This week, while visiting the victims of the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Trump unleashed Twitter attacks and tirades against a wide array of people and topics. Targets included...

  • Google
  • California
  • Beto O'Rourke
  • The New York Times
  • Joe Biden
  • CNN
  • Fox News
  • Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley
  • Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro
  • Hollywood
  • Bill Maher
  • Anthony Scaramucci

Dozens of Democrats have called on the administration to take real action against gun violence by reconvening the Senate to vote on 2 House-passed background check bills. O'Rourke, who suspended his campaign after the shooting in his hometown, has said he would consider mandatory gun buyback programs or gun licenses if elected president.

  • O'Rourke also called attention to a CNN report this week that claimed the White house has rebuffed efforts by the Department of Homeland Security to make "combating domestic terror threats, such as those from white supremacists, a greater priority."
  • "[Trump] has ignored them, or willfully suppressed action on those ideas and those programs and those policies that could have saved lives in El Paso and across the country," O'Rourke said.

Go deeper: Gun violence became the No. 1 topic of conversation online last week

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March for Our Lives launches gun control plan to spur 2020 youth vote

David Hogg speaks onstage at March For Our Lives in 2018. Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for March For Our Lives

March for Our Lives, started by student activists who survived the 2018 mass shooting in Parkland, Fla., launched a massive gun control plan Wednesday aimed at kicking off a youth voting surge in 2020.

Why it matters: It was the influential group's first public action since the recent mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton.

Go deeperArrowAug 21, 2019

Beto O'Rourke says he's more determined to pursue nomination after El Paso

Beto O'Rourke consoles a man at a makeshift memorial outside the El Paso Walmart where a mass shooter killed 22 people. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

In an interview with the New York Times, 2020 candidate Beto O'Rourke said he's even more determined to win the Democratic nomination after the mass shooting in his hometown of El Paso, dismissing calls to use his recalibrated time in the spotlight to make a high-profile run for Senate.

"I'm running for president. ... At a time that the president is attacking this community, this part of the world, the U.S.-Mexico border, cities of immigrants, that’s where I am. That’s where I live. That’s where we’re raising our family. I can meet him on this issue in very personal terms and from a place that no one else can.”

The big picture: O'Rourke's campaign has largely stalled in the months since he jumped in the race, with his massive early fundraising totals overshadowed by a pair of mild debate performances and lackluster polling. But in the face of tragedy, the former congressman has become an ambassador for those affected by gun violence, positioning himself as a foil to Trump through newly impassioned speeches and appearances on cable news.

Go deeperArrowAug 11, 2019

Beto O'Rourke's 2020 relaunch still targets Trump instead of Senate

Beto O'Rourke. Photo: Sandy Huffaker/Stringer/Getty Images

2020 contender Beto O'Rourke issued a relaunch of his campaign Thursday, refocusing his fight to take on President Trump and shifting campaign efforts away from early primary states, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: The move allays speculation that O'Rourke will drop out of the presidential contest to pursue a Senate bid in Texas.

Go deeperArrowAug 15, 2019