Despite calls to abandon the 2020 Democratic presidential race and run for the U.S. Senate now that his campaign is mired in low single digits, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke insisted in a speech Thursday that his campaign is essential to the future of America.
“There’s some part of me, and it’s a big part of me, that wants to stay here [in El Paso] and be with my family, and be with my community. I love El Paso,” O’Rourke said Thursday. “There have even been some who suggested that I stay in Texas and run for Senate.”
“But that would not be good enough for this community. That would not be good enough for El Paso. That would not be good enough for this country,” he continued.
O’Rourke’s presidential campaign, which began in March with a flurry of optimism and polling that hit double digits, has faltered. The Real Clear Politics average of polls currently shows O’Rourke polling at 2.8 percent support.
Since then, The Houston Chronicle used one of its editorials to call upon him to abandon his campaign and seek the Senate. Others have also urged O’Rourke to seek a bid for Texas’s Senate seat.
Dear Beto O’Rourke & John Hickenlooper,
Please do the American people a favor and go back to Texas and Colorado and help us win back the US Senate. We promise to have your back but this presidential run is not it.
This would be a true service to our country.
— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) July 31, 2019
O’Rourke said his goal is to focus negative attention on President Donald Trump. In its assessment of his speech, The New York Times wrote that O’Rourke was launching what it termed a “moral crusade” against Trump.
“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,” O’Rourke said. “And that is Donald Trump.”
O’Rourke said Trump has brought the endemic racism that is always present in America to a boil.
“We have a racism in American that is as old as America itself … But we have always tried, until now, to change that, until this president,” O’Rourke said Thursday. “What he says, and what he does not just offend our sensibilities … it changes who we are as a country.”
On Thursday night, O’Rourke reiterated to MSNBC talk show host Lawrence O’Donnell that he wants to topple Trump, not seek a Senate seat.
2020 presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke tells @Lawrence that he “will not in any scenario run for the United States Senate… I’m taking this fight directly to Donald Trump and that is what I am exclusively focused on doing right now.” pic.twitter.com/mYlhPAh9Bx
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) August 16, 2019
“Let me make your show the place where I tell you and I tell the country I will not in any scenario run for the United States Senate,” he said.
“I’m running for president. I’m running for this country. I’m taking this fight directly to Donald Trump, and that is what I am exclusively focused on doing right now.”
O’Rouke took time off from campaigning after a mass shooting in an El Paso, Texas Walmart, and said he will come back with a different focus.
In those places where Donald Trump has been terrorizing, terrifying, and demeaning our fellow Americans, that’s where you will find me in this campaign. pic.twitter.com/kHtr06yS7o
— Beto O’Rourke (@BetoORourke) August 15, 2019
He said he plans to focus on areas with high immigrant populations and make gun control a major piece of his platform. His campaign was set to re-launch with a trip to Mississippi, the site of massive raids that uncovered hundreds of illegal immigrants working at food processing plants.
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