Trying his best to raise the profile of a Democratic presidential campaign consistently polling in the 1-3 percent range, Robert “Beto” O’Rourke has adopted the favorite strategy of 14-year-old’s arguing with their parents: the F-bomb.
The O’Rourke campaign recently released a t-shirt that displays the text “This Is F*cked Up” six times followed by “End Gun Violence Now” and “Beto for America.”
The quote references a statement O’Rourke made at an appearance in Fairfax Station, Virginia, after hearing of the massacre in Odessa, Texas, that left seven dead and 22 injured.
“Not sure how many gunmen. We don’t know how many have been killed. We don’t know the motivation. We do not know the firearms that were used or how they acquired them. But here’s what we do know: This is f***** up,” O’Rourke said, later tweeting a video of the speech.
We don’t know how many have been killed. We don’t know the motivation. But here’s what we do know: This is fucked up. pic.twitter.com/NRvyPfUjiM— Beto O’Rourke (@BetoORourke) September 1, 2019
O’Rourke goes on in the speech to criticize Congress for failing to fund research into “gun violence,” failing to pass a universal background check bill, and failing to close the “loopholes” that allow people to buy a firearm “when they should not be able to.”
He also laments the ability of U.S. residents to purchase an “AR-18” at a gun show without a background check.
The O’Rourke campaign hasn’t commented on the shirt design, but O’Rourke defended his use of the F-word in an interview with MSNBC on Sunday by quoting Minneapolis Rabbi Michael Latz.
“Rabbi Latz came up on my Twitter feed and he said, ‘Profanity is not the F-bomb. What is profane is a 17-month-old baby being shot in the face. What is profane is losing the life of a high school student in that shooting yesterday. He will not be returning to school tomorrow. What is profane is 40,000 gun violence deaths in this country.'”
Profanity is not the f-bomb. What is profane is a 17 month-old baby being shot in the face. pic.twitter.com/mUuK12Rxbp— Beto O’Rourke (@BetoORourke) September 1, 2019
O’Rourke appears to be making gun control a central plank in his campaign platform, taking the mantle from California Rep. Eric Swalwell, who was the first Democratic candidate to drop out of the 2020 presidential race.
O’Rourke is making hay from a recent appearance he made at a gun show in Arkansas in which several attendees allegedly came up to him of their own accord and voiced support for his gun control policies. He brought it up again in his speech in Virginia, and he used his appearance at the gun show to fundraise at an event last month.
His “This is F*cked Up” shirt can be had in “Women’s and Unisex” styles for $30 a pop. The O’Rourke website says all proceeds will go to the anti-gun groups Moms Demand Action and March for Our Lives.