Yes, he absolutely should be, but Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke clearly has no shame. Our intrepid reporter Julio Rosas went to Uvalde to cover the news of the mass shooting and the investigation, and reported on Beto’s stunt at the press conference that was intended to inform the community of developments on both. Later, Julio asked Uvalde mayor Don McLaughlin what he thought of Beto’s campaign-driven crashing of the event, and …. needless to say, McLaughlin wasn’t impressed — with O’Rourke or his defenders:
Don McLaughlin, mayor of Uvalde, on @BetoORourke crashing the press conference earlier today: “That event today was not the place or the time…I have no respect for Beto and the haters who hate…to hell with you too.” pic.twitter.com/313WtdU8mk
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) May 26, 2022
McLaughlin told Townhall that if Democrats want to “have that discussion, that’s fine, but that event was not the place or the time to come in there and attack the governor or anybody else there,” the mayor said. “If [O’Rourke] wants to have that discussion, have it outside somewhere. But not in that building where we’re trying to give the people there [information].”
“This community is broken right now,” continued McLaughlin. “No community should have to go through what we’ve been through in this community, and for a person to come in there and start that crap — I have no respect for Beto,” he reiterated. “And the haters that hate, that send me the emails and the texts, to hell with you too,” the mayor added after apparently receiving criticism for scolding O’Rourke as he stormed the press conference stage on Wednesday.
“I don’t care if you’re a Democrat, a Republican, an independent,” McLaughlin noted, “we’re American people — we’re trying to come together as a community. To do what [O’Rourke] did today at that press conference was wrong. I’m sorry, but it was wrong,” he concluded.
O’Rourke’s allies tried to circle the wagons in painting this as some sort of truth-to-power moment, but McLaughlin’s correct. This wasn’t a campaign event, a debate, or some kind of fundraiser. The press conference was held to inform the Uvalde community, and especially the families impacted by the massacre, of what law enforcement knew and the next steps they were taking. This was a public service that involved state and local officials, for which Abbott was present as the top executive-branch official — not as candidate for governor.
Interrupting that process for personal political gain isn’t just a stunt. It’s a despicable exploitation of that public service for personal political gain, all the more explicit because of the presence of Beto’s cameraman. Beto climbed on top of the bodies of the victims and the grief of the community to make the press conference all about him.
On second thought, despicable isn’t a strong enough word. Pathological might be closer; narcissistic certainly fits.
There certainly are times and places for this debate. We’ve long since given up any pretense of holding down the politicization of tragedies for a decent period of grief and reflection, and both parties have a hand in the demise of that standard. Even in this new cultural consensus, however, we don’t have candidates leaping into law-enforcement briefings to cut the political equivalent of selfies at the graveside. At least, we didn’t until yesterday, when Beto pioneered that grotesque tactic.
If you wonder why Beto felt the need to do that, all you need to see is the latest polling from the Dallas Morning News, which puts O’Rourke at 39% in the upcoming gubernatorial race here in Texas. Apparently no one bought the argument in February that Beto had turned into a stalwart defender of the Second Amendment, so O”Rourke decided to conduct a performative stunt to rally the progressive base in Texas instead. I suspect that Beto had already rallied that base as much as they can be rallied already, and even some of those may eventually cringe at O’Rourke’s naked exploitation in Uvalde. Hopefully the next round of polling will shame this shameless huckster where it counts … and in what is clearly the only measure of worth that matters to Beto.
Addendum: Julio wasn’t on scene by luck. Our Hot Air/Townhall VIP members’ support for independent journalism funds his field reporting, as well as other efforts in the Townhall Media family. Be sure to subscribe today to show your support.