Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) urged his supporters on Sunday to donate money to the challenger of a Texas state legislator whom the presidential hopeful reported to the FBI for what he considered a death threat.
“Texas lawmaker Briscoe Cain tweeted a death threat at Beto after Thursday night’s debate,” O’Rourke’s 2020 campaign wrote in an email. “Twitter removed it and we reported him to the FBI. But then — and this is truly unbelievable — Fox News invited Cain to be on primetime TV last night so he could joke around about the death threat and raise money for his campaign. Absolutely despicable.”
“So here’s what we’re going to do: We’re going to raise a bunch of money today for the Democrat running against Cain, Josh Markle,” the email continued. “We need ALL hands on deck because Cain probably raised tens of thousands of dollars for his campaign last night on Fox News.”
After struggling to gain traction in the polls, O’Rourke faced increased pressure during the summer to drop out of the presidential race. Rather than ending his campaign, O’Rourke re-launched it — making his anti-gun policies the cornerstone to his platform. Days later, the former Texas congressman announced his support for federally mandated gun confiscation for all so-called “assault weapons.”
While participating in the Democratic National Committee’s third presidential primary debate on Thursday, O’Rourke declared in no uncertain terms that if he were to be elected president, he would impose a nationwide confiscation program to seize tens of millions of firearms from law-abiding citizens.
“Hell yes, we’re going to take away your AR-15, your AK-47,” O’Rourke said at the time. “We are not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore.”
The declaration received massive cheers from O’Rourke’s left-wing base. However, even members of his own party have been subsequently warning that such an anti-Second Amendment provocation could prove politically detrimental to Democrats by inadvertently firing up the Republican base.
Accordingly, Republican Texas state Rep. Briscoe Cain took issue with O’Rourke’s calls for action, and tweeted at the presidential hopeful, “My AR is ready for you Robert Francis.”
“This is a death threat, Representative,” O’Rourke responded. “Clearly, you shouldn’t own an AR-15 — and neither should anyone else.”
Cain, however, denied that he was threatening O’Rourke. He further defended his language, stating that it was a nod to the Battle of Gonzales, the first armed engagement of the Texas Revolution.
“He’s threatened to trespass on my property and the property of others or to kick down our door and take from us,” Cain said while appearing on Fox News. “What I wrote really is just another way of saying, ‘Come and Take It.'”
O’Rourke’s campaign, however, endorsed Cain’s Democratic challenger and urged supporters to donate to help unseat the Republican state lawmaker.
“Last year, Briscoe Cain ran completely unopposed. This time, we have a Democrat running to defeat him. Josh [Markle] served in the Air Force before moving to the Houston area to pursue computer science. He now works for a sign language interpreting agency that serves the deaf community of Southeast Texas,” O’Rourke’s campaign wrote. “The more money we can raise for Josh today, the stronger and clearer our message to Cain becomes. So please make your donations right now.”