Presidential candidate O'Rourke lays out campaign agenda on social media
Former El Paso Congressman Beto O'Rourke formally announced his presidential candidacy Thursday in social media videos, using the same platforms he ran against Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) last year.
In the video, he called this "a defining moment of truth for our country," a slight change to an often-repeated line during his senate campaign. He directly pointed at "the interconnected crises in our economy, our democracy, and our climate," saying they can either "consume us or afford us the greatest opportunity to unleash the genius of the United States of America."
The video, a simple side-by-side of O'Rourke, 46, and his wife Amy, laid out the Democrat's priorities as he begins a three-day campaign trip through Iowa. It offered refrains familiar to Texans -- ensuring the government works for people, not corporations, investing in workers, ensuring each American can see doctors, and "if immigration is a problem, it's the best problem for this country to have." He advocated for immigration reform, including lawful paths for workers, joining families, and fleeing persecution.
In the video, O'Rourke called climate change perhaps the most important issue, calling it a threat to our existence and encouraging ingenuity and creativity in confronting it "before it's too late."
In a shout-out to areas he struggled in during the senate elections, O'Rourke mentions uplifting rural areas with no other details on how or what issues he would target.
He mentioned "real justice reform" and racial inequality as targets, namely "confront[ing] the hard truths of slavery, and segregation, and suppression" in the US, then goes on to express support for ending wars and providing care for veterans.
O'Rourke promised to travel the country as he did in Texas -- visiting all 254 counties -- to listen to all Americans' thoughts and concerns. He promised the same kind of bipartisan, optimistic vision for the future that nearly upset Sen. Cruz, and set himself as the candidate for all parties, religions, genders, and socioeconomic classes.
At a campaign stop in Iowa, a crowded coffee shop in Burlington, O'Rourke said he's open to remaking the structure of the Supreme Court so it better reflects "the diversity we are composed of" as a country.
He said the U.S. is now so polarized, it might be time to have five Republican justices and five Democratic justices, rather than the current nine appointed for life. He further suggested both groups would then select five more justices, for a total of 15, and include term limits "so there's a more regular rotation through there."
President Trump welcomes the challenge
Speaking to reporters in the Oval Office, the President offered some faint praise for the new candidate.
"Well," he said, "I think he's got a lot of hand movement." Then, he added, "Is he crazy or is that just how he acts?"
President Trump said he was ready for any challenger, whether it's O'Rourke or former Vice President Biden: "Whoever it is, I'll take him or her on."