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2020 hopeful Beto O’Rourke promises to prosecute Trump if he wins the White House
After falling sharply in the polls, Beto O’Rourke is finding new, desperate ways to stay relevant.
The Texas Democrat promised voters that he will prosecute Donald Trump if elected president, Breitbart reported. The Democrat made the pitch Sunday on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos.
Beto: Vote for me, I’ll prosecute Trump
Asked by Stephanopoulos whether President O’Rourke would prosecute Trump, the Democrat said that he would direct the Justice Department to “follow the facts.” But O’Rourke seemed to have his mind made up about Trump’s guilt, adding dramatically that American democracy will be destroyed forever unless Trump is held “accountable.”
“I would want my Justice Department, any future administration’s Justice Department to follow the facts and the truth and to make sure at the end of the day there’s accountability and justice, without this, without that, this idea, this experiment of American democracy comes to a close,” O’Rourke said. “We were attacked unlike any other time in our 243-year history and we have a president who has yet to acknowledge it and a president who has yet to be brought to justice. Yes, no matter who that is.”
Continuing in his garbled, cliché manner of speaking, O’Rourke added that “justice is important, in fact foundational” to American society.
O’Rourke doubles down on impeachment
O’Rourke’s desperate pitch comes as Democrats ramp up talk of impeaching and jailing Trump. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA) reportedly told Democrats behind closed doors last week that she wanted to see Trump in prison, rather than impeached.
Pelosi’s comments were seen as a suggestion that Democrats vote Trump out of office first, then hold the president “accountable” for alleged non-specific crimes afterward.
“We heard House Speaker Nancy Pelosi say this week, she wants to see the president in prison. Do you think the president committed crimes that could be prosecuted?” Stephanopoulos asked O’Rourke on Sunday.
“He did,” O’Rourke answered. “I think that’s clear from what we have learned from the Mueller report.” O’Rourke went on to argue that Mueller’s report does not describe the full extent of Trump’s alleged criminality:
I think those crimes might extend beyond what we have seen in the Mueller report; using public office for personal gain, for himself and for his family, the relationship that he has with [Russian leader] Vladimir Putin, which has never been properly explained from the invitation as a candidate to have Russia involve itself in our election, his efforts to obstruct justice, the fact that he called Vladimir Putin after the Mueller report was released, called it a hoax, thereby giving him a green light to further participate in our democracy and our elections.
Pelosi has struggled to balance growing calls for impeachment from rank-and-file Democrats with the danger of overreach. Any impeachment effort would fail to remove Trump, since Republicans control the Senate, and polling shows that a majority of Americans do not want Democrats to impeach Trump.
But O’Rourke, who has called for Trump’s impeachment, doubled down on that call in his Sunday interview and said that Trump must be impeached, with or without popular support, or else America will lose its democracy “forever.”
“If we don’t hold the president accountable we’ll set the precedent that some people in this country, because of their position of power, are in fact above the law. And if we do that, we’ll lose this democracy forever,” O’Rourke said. “Regardless of the popularity of the idea or what the polling shows us, we must proceed with impeachment so we get the facts and the truth and at end of the day there’s justice for what was done to our democracy in 2016.”
The fall of Beto
With his positive “energy” and spirited, cliché speeches, the skateboarding former congressman was once seen as a potential challenger to Donald Trump. When he entered the presidential race, O’Rourke was widely considered a second-tier candidate, in the same league as Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Kamala Harris (D-CA).
But in the weeks since, O’Rourke has floundered, while South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg has pushed Beto aside. O’Rourke is now polling barely better than Sen. Cory “Spartacus” Booker (D-NJ).
In a packed primary where most candidates are failing to register in the double digits, there is only room for one “vaguely inspirational white male without any specific policy” candidate. Buttigieg, with his trendy, generic messaging that is heavy on positive energy but light on detail, is crowding out Beto’s lane.
O’Rourke rebooted his campaign last month after stumbling out the gate over controversial comments, including a remark that he was “born” to be in the race, which critics took as a sign of white male entitlement. The Democrat was introduced as a “blank slate” this weekend by a supporter in Iowa, where he has dropped from being the first choice of 11% of the populace in December to just 2% this month. (Buttigieg is at 14% in the state.)
With Democrats growing impatient for revenge, “lock him up” is emerging as a distinct theme of the 2020 campaign. But other Democrats calling for Trump’s punishment, including Sen. Warren, are faring considerably better in the race. For Beto, it sure sounds like a last, desperate plea for attention.
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