Beto O'Rourke Restarting White House Bid as Battle Against Trump - NBC 10 Philadelphia
Decision 2020

Decision 2020

The latest news on the race for president in 2020

Beto O'Rourke Restarting White House Bid as Battle Against Trump

The Democratic former congressman used a speech in his Texas hometown where a mass shooting killed 22 people to overhaul his White House bid and argue that President Donald Trump is morally unfit for a second term



    O'Rourke Blames President Trump for El Paso Shooting

    Democratic Presidential Candidate Beto O'Rourke blasted President Donald Trump, blaming him for the deadly mass shooting in El Paso, Texas. (Published Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019)

    Democrat Beto O'Rourke rejoined the presidential race on Thursday following a nearly two-week pause — using a speech in his Texas hometown where a mass shooting killed 22 people to overhaul his White House bid and argue that President Donald Trump is morally unfit for a second term.

    The former congressman spoke at a park close to his home, saying what happened in El Paso, on the U.S.-Mexico border, "is an attack on America" and "an attack on our ideal of what America can be."

    He blamed assault weapons and endorsed a federal buyback program for them, but was far more critical of the president for what he called fomenting hate and racist attitudes.

    "We must take the fight directly to the source of this problem, that person who has caused this pain and placed this country in this moment of peril, and that is Donald Trump," O'Rourke said during an emotional, 30-plus minute address. "I want to be the leader for this country that we need right now and that we do not have."

    Who’s Running for President in 2020?

    The race for the 2020 presidential election is underway, and the field of Democratic candidates is packed. Those who have announced presidential bids include a vice president, senators, House members and three mayors. As for the GOP, a single Republican has announced his bid to challenge President Donald Trump for the party nomination: former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, who ran for vice president (and lost) in 2016 on the Libertarian party ticket.

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    Updated July 29, 2019
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    O'Rourke said the dual dangers of Trump and too many assault weapons on the nation's streets must be addressed: "I'm confident that, if at this moment we do not wake up to this threat, then we, as a country, will die in our sleep."

    Aides say the next phase of O'Rourke's campaign won't simply focus on plodding through states that vote early in the presidential primary, like Iowa, which goes first, but instead feature their candidate drawing more sharp contrasts between himself and Trump.

    O'Rourke will start Friday by heading to Mississippi, where federal immigration agents last week arrested 680 Latino workers in a massive workplace sting at seven chicken processing plants, shocking their communities. After Trump took office, then-Acting Director Thomas Homan declared that U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement would try to increase crackdowns at worksites believed to be employing people in the country illegally, like the Mississippi plants, by 400%.

    O'Rourke was campaigning in Nevada on Aug. 3 when a gunman who denounced immigrants in an online screed opened fire at an El Paso Walmart. He suspended his campaign and rushed home. Since then, he has attended funerals and vigils, visited hospitalized victims and donated blood while appearing on national television to say Trump's rhetoric helped cause the shooting — and to curse the press for not more expressly reporting that.

    During that time, O'Rourke stopped sending emails to supporters asking for donations and pulled online fundraising ads, though he still accepted money via his campaign's website.

    He now says he'll return to the campaign trail using a better way to woo voters than normal staples like visiting state fairs for "corndogs and Ferris wheels." Instead, O'Rourke will travel to "those places where Donald Trump has been terrorizing and terrifying and demeaning our fellow Americans."

    Key Moments From Impeachment Hearing

    [NATL] Key Moments From Impeachment Hearing

    Watch key moments from Wednesday's public impeachment hearings, which included testimony from U.S. diplomat William Taylor and State Department official George Kent.

    (Published Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019)

    "That's where you will find me in this campaign," he said.

    O'Rourke also used Thursday to declare that he wouldn't leave the presidential race to challenge Republican Sen. John Cornyn next year saying "that would not be good enough" for El Paso and its shooting victims, since only taking on Trump will do.

    Trump's re-election campaign responded that O'Rourke was using tragedy "to bolster his struggling presidential bid."

    "O'Rourke's second campaign reboot is likely to end up failing just like his first," Trump campaign spokeswoman Samantha Cotton said in a statement.

    That's a reference to O'Rourke already attempting a major strategy shift in recent months, increasing his television appearances and releasing a string of policy proposals, attempting to show he didn't prioritize political style over substance. Those efforts failed to recapture the strong buzz and fundraising O'Rourke had upon entering the presidential race in March, though, and he's remained plagued by low fundraising and polling ever since.

    Indeed, O'Rourke now finds himself in a precarious position. He has again seized the national spotlight , but for all the wrong reasons — and it's unclear if so directly laying what happened in El Paso at Trump's feet will resonate with voters outside it.

    Laughter Erupts After Welch's Trump One-Liner

    [NATL] Laughter Erupts After Welch's Trump One-Liner

    Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., drew a few laughs after his one-line response to Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, during Wednesday's open impeachment hearings.

    (Published Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019)

    Last weekend, nearly the entire, packed field of Democratic presidential candidates visited the state fair and other locales in Iowa, whose caucuses are now less than six months away. O'Rourke is betting that kind of personal facetime won't be necessary, as he heads elsewhere "to remind this country just who we are at our best."

    "Anyone that this president puts down," he said, "we are going to do our best to lift up."