Former Texas congressman Robert “Beto” O’Rourke, a failed Democratic presidential candidate now running for governor, disrupted a news conference Wednesday about a deadly school shooting the day prior in the town of Uvalde and essentially accused his opponent, Gov. Greg Abbott (R), of bearing responsibility for the deaths of the children.
While doing so, however, O’Rourke was blasted by Republican Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin, who denounced the Democrat as a “sick son of a b—h” for exploiting the tragedy as a “political issue,” The Hill reported.
O’Rourke seizes political opportunity from tragedy
Gov. Abbott had turned the microphone over the Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) to address the news conference when O’Rourke stood up from the seated crowd and approached the stage to interrupt and make his accusations of fatal inaction and complicity in murder against the sitting governor.
Mayor McLaughlin, who was seated among a back row of officials who were providing updates on the terrible school shooting that occurred the day before, jumped up and pointed at O’Rourke as he said, “Sir, you are out of line.”
When O’Rourke continued to hurl accusations at Abbott and other Republican lawmakers and officials, McLaughlin shouted, “I can’t believe you’re a sick son of a b—h who would come to a deal like this to make a political issue.”
More harsh words and expletives were said back and forth until O’Rourke was eventually ushered away from the stage and out of the auditorium by police officers so that the event could resume.
Beto O’Rourke interrupts ongoing press conference by Texas Gov. Abbott and other officials. pic.twitter.com/qa8YY0ghQy
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) May 25, 2022
McLaughlin has “no respect for Beto” after publicity stunt
After the news conference had concluded, Mayor McLaughlin addressed a group of reporters, according to a video obtained by journalist Julio Rosas, and further denounced O’Rourke’s disruptive behavior as being flat-out “wrong” during a non-political event.
“They want to have that discussion, that’s fine. But that event today was not the place or the time to come in there and attack the governor or anybody else there,” McLaughlin said. “If he wants to have that discussion, have it outside somewhere or something. But not in that building, where we’re trying to give the people there …”
“This community is broken right now. When no community should have to go through what we’ve gone through in this community,” the mayor added. “And for a person to come in there and start that crap? I have no respect for Beto. And the haters that hate, that send me the emails and the texts, to hell with you too. I’m just telling you.”
“Not the time and place”
Later, during an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, Mayor McLaughlin reiterated, “That was not the time and place to have that discussion. If he wants to have that discussion, that’s fine. But today at that conference was not the time or place to do that.”
“My heart is broken for these families that lost these children … but that’s the problem. Every time we have one of these, it’s a political deal. What happened to the grown men that we elected to represent us in Congress?” he added. He went on to suggest that both sides of the debate needed to back away from their extreme positions and find an agreeable compromise solution to address mass shootings and gun violence.