After spending a week in El Paso following the terrorist attack, Beto O’Rourke is headed back on the presidential campaign trail on Thursday. The former El Paso congressman spent time away from the campaign trail to grieve with residents of his hometown and offer support to victims of the Walmart shooting.
O’Rourke is set to deliver a major address to the nation to signal his reentry into the fray and discuss “the path forward for his presidential campaign and for the future of the country,” according to a campaign news release.
In a recent CNN op-ed he blamed Trump’s racist language for inspiring the white nationalist shooter that ended 22 lives. “As long as the President employs this rhetoric, and as long as it is tolerated or ignored by so many, tragedies like these will continue to tear our country apart,” O’Rourke wrote.
In a recent Quinnipiac poll, 80% of black respondents said the president is racist.
O’Rourke has already qualified for the third Democratic debate in Houston in September It is this debate, in his home state, that could be a factor in turning his fledgling campaign around.
The Houston Chronicle this week called for O’Rourke to drop out of the presidential race. “Beto, if you’re listening: Come home. “Drop out of the race for president and come back to Texas to run for senator,” wrote the paper’s editorial board.
“Beto will continue to seek the Democratic nomination for President,” noted the campaign in its statement advising the Thursday speech.
Democratic “strategists” in New York and D.C. and high-falutin TV pundits — those who have declared, or all but declared, O’Rourke’s candidacy dead — have a history of underestimating candidates. Exhibit A: Trump. Exhibit B: George W. Bush.
Time will tell if they again have to eat crow.