Beto O’Rourke’s confrontation at Gov. Abbott’s Uvalde press conference draws support, ire

·5 min read
Dario Lopez-Mills/AP

Beto O’Rourke interrupted a press conference with Texas officials in Uvalde, including Gov. Greg Abbott, on Wednesday afternoon.

O’Rourke was escorted out of the building and the moment went viral on social media and drew strong reactions from both sides of the political aisle.

Many supporters of O’Rourke, a Democrat running for Texas governor, praised the El Paso native for shaking up the status quo responses from Texas officials in the wake of another mass murder that left 21 dead in Uvalde, including 19 elementary students.

MSNBC host and former Republican congressman Joe Scarborough defended O’Rourke immediately after the moment, which was carried live by multiple news stations.

One of the officials on the dais with Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, Abbott, and Sen. Ted Cruz, was Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin, who called O’Rourke a “sick son of a bitch,” from the stage.

“There are several here who fit the definition of ‘Sick Son of a Bitch’ in this picture, but none go by the name of Beto,” Scarborough posted in a message on Twitter. “Look instead at the freaks who keep gutting gun laws so 18 year olds can buy weapons designed for war to go into schools and slaughter babies. THAT is sick.”

Political pundit and former chief strategist for George W. Bush’s 2004 presidential campaign Matthew Dowd, said “more leaders need to stand up like you in this moment.”

“The only way we honor the [lost] loved ones is to do something now,” Dowd posted on Twitter. “You have true courage my friend. And a heart of a leader.”

Former FOX news commentator Monica Crowley accused O’Rourke of political grandstanding, which was the obvious view of many on the right

“The murder of children is a singular evil. Beto O’Rourke saw it as an opportunity to score political points,” Crowley posted in a message. “What a despicable POS.”

Others defended O’Rourke’s action as necessary.

“If you want to dismiss this as a ‘stunt,’ go ahead,” former ESPN and MSNBC host Keith Olbermann said in a Twitter post. “By that standard so is every presidential debate. You are allowed to plan your non-cooperation with state propaganda.”