Beto vs. Mayor Pete could turn out to be the Kamala vs. Tulsi of the next debate. Except in this case, it would be entertaining if they both destroyed each other’s campaigns.
There was a gun control forum in Las Vegas on Wednesday, one day after the 2 year anniversary of the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting that left 58 dead and hundreds more injured.
Instead of it being a run of the mill forum full of Democrats all agreeing with each other on Orange Man Bad and the supposed need to curb 2nd Amendment rights, there were some fireworks between Beto O’Rourke and Pete Buttigieg.
It all started when Buttigieg sat down for his question and answer session with moderator Craig Melvin from MSNBC. Melvin asked Buttigieg about the calls from some of the other candidates for an implementation of a gun buyback program, and noted there was disagreement among them as to whether or not it should be mandatory.
Asking him to ignore the “political feasibility” of a buyback program, Melvin wanted to know what Mayor Pete’s thoughts were on buyback programs “from a policy standpoint.”
Here’s what Buttigieg said:
Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., supports a voluntary buyback program for assault weapons, and has been critical of O’Rourke’s plan.
“As a policy, it’s had mixed results,” Buttigieg said, saying that usually, the guns turned over in buyback programs are antiques and family heirlooms.
“We’ve got to do something now,” he said, adding that often “a shiny object makes it hard for us to focus.”
Watch Mayor Pete talk about this issue below:
O’Rourke, who along with Sens. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris believes America needs a mandatory gun confiscation program, lashed out when it was his turn at the forum later, suggesting Buttigieg, an Afghanistan war veteran, was “afraid of doing the right thing right now”:
“I heard some of the comments made today on this stage, those who are worried about the polls, and want to triangulate or talk to the consultants or listen to focus groups, and I’m thinking about Mayor Pete on this on this one, who I think probably wants to get to the right place, but is afraid of doing the right thing right now,” O’Rourke said at a gun violence prevention forum.
Watch Beto’s remarks about Mayor Pete during the forum below:
To those in our party worried about polls and listening to consultants—and I’m thinking about Mayor Pete—let me tell you that assault weapons buybacks are supported by a majority of Americans. Not only is this the right thing to do, the American people are with us on this. pic.twitter.com/JaURE2voBL
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) October 2, 2019
In what looks like a post-forum interview, O’Rourke went even further, saying he was “really offended” by what Buttigieg said:
“What Pete has been saying is that a mandatory buyback is the ‘shiny object’ that is distracting us,” O’Rourke said, grimacing. “How in the world can you say that to March for Our Lives? How can you say that to survivors of mass shootings in this country? How can you say that to a majority of Hispanics in America, certainly in Texas, who fear that they will be the victims of a mass shooting inspired by racism and hatred that has been welcomed into the open by this president and has been armed with weapons of war? I was really offended by those comments.”
“He represents a kind of politics that is focused on poll-testing and focus group-driving and triangulating listening to consultants before you arrive at a position,” O’Rourke said, slamming Buttigieg. “I think our politics has to be about doing the right thing, saying the right thing.”
Beto unloads on Pete pic.twitter.com/QpB1mJ1Bp8
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) October 2, 2019
Per CNN, there has been bad blood between the two campaigns since April, when Buttigieg joked that “I hear the way you ingratiate yourself to voters is to stand on things,” which O’Rourke did in some of his early campaign stops. Also, this is not their first clash on the issue of a mandatory gun buyback program:
The two had already clashed in September, when Buttigieg said O’Rourke’s push for mandatory buy-backs — which he has called for in the wake of a mass shooting in his hometown of El Paso, Texas — played into the hands of Republicans looking for reasons to back away from gun control measures at a time when Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell were “at least pretending to be open to reforms.”
— Vaughn Sterling (@vplus) October 2, 2019
Beto vs. Mayor Pete could turn out to be the Kamala vs. Tulsi of the 4th debate, although in this case it’d be entertaining if they both destroyed each other because they’re both sanctimonious hypocrites whose campaigns aren’t going anywhere.
— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —DONATE
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