Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) went on a vulgar tirade on Saturday immediately following the news that a mass shooting occurred near Odessa, Texas.
“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,” O’Rourke told a crowd in Fairfax Station, Virginia. “Don’t know what the motivation is, do not yet know the firearms that were used or how they acquired them.”
“But we do know, this is f***ed up,” he continued amid laughs and applause.
Despite admittedly having no information regarding the deadly event that occurred only hours earlier, the Democratic presidential hopeful criticized the United States Congress for not enacting anti-gun legislation such as passing universal background checks and abolishing the Dickey Amendment, which prevents the government from using taxpayer money to advocate for gun control.
The Odessa Police Department later confirmed that seven people were killed and more than 20 injured when a gunman opened fire after he was pulled over by Texas troopers during a traffic stop.
After facing mounting pressure to end his struggling presidential bid and drop out of the race, O’Rourke instead re-launched his campaign in August declaring that his anti-Second Amendment platform would be his primary focus going forward.
Days later, the failed Senate candidate endorsed an expansive set of gun control policy measures crafted by a group of anti-gun former Parkland students. The proposal demands a ban on so-called “assault weapons” and magazines above the standard capacity, red flag laws, universal background checks, increasing the purchase age to 21, and prohibiting more than one firearm purchase per month.
It would further implement federally mandated safe storage requirements and a government-run gun confiscation program, where Americans would be required to hand over any “assault weapons.”
O’Rourke defended his use of the swear word the following day while appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“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 host Dana Bash.
“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,” he continued. “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.”
The former Texas congressman also defended his support for a nationwide gun confiscation program on all “assault weapons” after the USA Today editorial board contended the policy goes too far and would even hamper the pro gun-control movement.
“More than I worry about the politics or the polling, more than I care about what the NRA has to say on this, I care for my kids, and this country, and people who live in terror every day, people in El Paso – Mexican Americans who say, ‘I feel like I have a target on my back; I’m afraid to go out in public’ – kids who, thinking about going to school tomorrow, having gone through active shooter drills, already know which bookcase they’re going to pull down, which window they’re going to jump out of,” O’Rourke responded when confronted with the editorial.
“This is not right and we should not accept it,” he continued. “We should be honest with ourselves. Universal background checks will help, ending the sales of weapons of war will help, but if millions of them remain on the streets they will still be instruments of terror that terrify and terrorize us and take our lives.”