Former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke announced that he was dropping out of the 2020 Democratic presidential race.
The three-term member of Congress from Texas shot to celebrity status after he challenged Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for the U.S. Senate in 2018, something he only missed by a narrow margin in an out-and-out red state. His presidential campaign did not live up to the anticipation he had built.
“Our campaign has been about seeing clearly, speaking honestly and acting decisively in the best interests of America,” O’Rourke wrote in a statement on Medium. A report by NPR noted that “O’Rourke was not likely to make this month’s debate stage or qualify for future debates,” thus seeing him step down. But many think it was his comment on weapons that was his undoing.
Beto’s focus during his campaign was heavily set on gun control — his raw response to the tragic gun violence in his hometown of El Paso in August, blaming President Trump for inspiring the white supremacist responsible, and calling for a ban on all assault weapons gave him some promise. But his comments on federal gun-control policies, and a mandatory gun buyback of assault-style weapons drew criticism. His position was controversial, drawing rebuke from many in the political arena.
Now, White House officials and lawmakers have confirmed that political advisers have counseled President Trump from a similar fate. After the President said he would offer policies to curb firearm deaths following mass shootings in August, he has now abandoned the idea as the gun legislation could splinter his political coalition.
In his exit remarks, O’Rourke said that he, “He will work to ensure that the Democratic nominee is successful in defeating Donald Trump in 2020.”
We will work to ensure that the Democratic nominee is successful in defeating Donald Trump in 2020. I can tell you firsthand from having the chance to know the candidates, we will be well served by any one of them, and I’m going to be proud to support whoever she or he is.
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) November 1, 2019