Presidential candidate former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-TX) has effectively relaunched his struggling campaign to focus on pushing gun control in the wake of multiple mass shootings, including in his home town of El Paso, Texas. In response to another mass shooting in Texas over the weekend, this time in Odessa, O'Rourke has come up with a new slogan for his campaign that's literally "f*cked up."
"Not sure how many gunmen, not sure how many people have been shot, don't know how many people have been killed, the conditions of those who have survived. Don't know what the motivation is, do not yet know the firearms that were used or how they acquired them," O’Rourke told a crowd in Fairfax Station, Virginia on Saturday, as The Daily Wire reported. "But we do know, this is f***ed up."
The line earned laughs, cheers and applause from the audience, and O'Rourke promptly posted video of the moment on Twitter.
On Sunday, O'Rourke appeared on CNN to defend and double down on his new unofficial campaign slogan. He also blasted people of faith responding with their "thoughts and prayers" to gun violence and reiterated his call for the confiscation of Americans' "weapons of war."
"The rhetoric that we’ve used, the 'thoughts and prayers' that you just referred to, it has done nothing to stop the epidemic of gun violence, to protect our kids, our families, our fellow Americans in public places," O’Rourke told CNN's Dana Bash Sunday. "So yes, this is f***ed up, and if we don’t call it out for what it is, if we’re not able to speak clearly, if we’re not able to act decisively, then we will continue to have this kind of bloodshed in America. I cannot accept that, and so we're going to speak as defiantly and as strongly as we can, but we're also going to take action – universal background checks, red flag laws, an end to the sales of weapons of war and buying those AK-47s and AR-15s back so that they cannot be used against our fellow Americans."
To help him drive home his new "defiant and strong" gun control message, CNN did not bleep out the Democratic candidate.
On the same day, Beto For America unveiled their new shirt, which really makes sure you don't miss his "f*cked up" tagline: "New in the store... 100% of the proceeds will benefit @MomsDemand and @AMarch4OurLives. This is f*cked up. We can change it," Team Beto announced. After repeating the line six times, the shirt states, "End gun violence now."
After the El Paso shooting, O'Rourke — who has failed to gain any traction in the presidential race (currently polling at 3% or worse in every major poll) and is facing more pressure to step away — refocused his campaign in August almost entirely on gun control, formally endorsing gun control activists' "Peace Plan." The Daily Wire's Molly Prince provides a summary of its priorities:
The so-called "Peace Plan" demands a ban on "assault weapons" and any magazine above the standard capacity, red flag laws, universal background checks, increasing the purchase age to 21, and forbidding more than one firearm purchase per month.
It also implements federally mandated safe storage requirements and a government-run gun confiscation program, where civilians will be required to hand over any "assault weapons." It also creates programs "to encourage voluntary civilian reduction of handguns and other firearms."
The Peace Plan further demands a national gun registry, as well as a licensing system for both guns and ammunition, which imposes annual fees. In order to obtain a license, the multi-step process would include "background checks, in-person interviews, personal references, rigorous gun safety training, and a waiting period of 10 days for each gun purchase." The license would expire after one year.
The shooting in Odessa Saturday that sparked O'Rourke's "f*cked up" response" resulted in the death of seven people and injuries to over 20 others. The killer, who was shot dead by law enforcement, began his rampage after being stopped by state troopers. Neighbors have described him as "a violent, aggressive person" who would frequently go out and shoot animals. FBI say he was "on a long spiral down" psychologically and emotionally, leading to him getting fired before his murderous shooting spree.