CBS reporter Janet Shamlian said Wednesday that, from her vantage point in the third row of Governor Gregg Abbott’s (R-TX) press conference, Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Beto O’Rourke appeared to have “staged” his interruption of the event.
Shamlian described the scene that played out, noting that O’Rourke had apparently sent “seat holders” in to sit in seats near the front — which they vacated when he made his entrance to disrupt Abbott’s address.
“@JanetShamlian reports on Beto O’Rourke confronting Gov. Abbott during presser: “There were two people across the aisle from me and a moment before the press conference started, they got up from their seats when Beto walked in … This seems something very clearly staged,” CBS News tweeted.
.@JanetShamlian reports on Beto O’Rourke confronting Gov. Abbott during presser: "There were two people across the aisle from me and a moment before the press conference started, they got up from their seats when Beto walked in … This seems something very clearly staged." pic.twitter.com/eaAxrZP6Gt
— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 25, 2022
Upon being asked whether she could make out what exactly O’Rourke had said, Shamlian said that she had gotten a much better view of what had transpired before the press conference actually began.
“Well, I did see what happened just before the press conference started,” she said. “I was in the third aisle — row — third row on the aisle, rather, and there were two people across the aisle from me and a moment before the press conference started, they got up from their seats when Beto walked in.”
“So they were seat holders for him,” Shamlian continued. “And then he sat down, so his presence wasn’t really noticed in the 15 or 20 minutes that people were gathering inside because he was not in the room. So this seems something very clearly staged by Beto O’Rourke and his campaign wanting to confront the governor at this moment.”
O’Rourke walked up to the stage while Abbott was updating grieving family members and reporters on the situation following Tuesday’s tragic mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and he confronted the governor directly.
“You are doing nothing,” O’Rourke said. “You said this was not predictable; this was totally predictable, and you choose not to do anything.”
“Sir, you are out of line. Please leave this auditorium,” Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin reprimanded O’Rourke, adding, “I can’t believe you’re a sick son of a b**** who would come to a deal like this to make a political issue.”
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), who was on the stage alongside McLaughlin and Governor Abbott, could be heard telling O’Rourke to “sit down.”