Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke criticized Democrats who did not endorse his mandatory buyback program for assault weapons on Wednesday, particularly campaign rival Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
“Those who are worried about the polls, and want to triangulate or talk to the consultants or listen to the focus groups — and I’m thinking about Mayor Pete on this one,” he said, calling out the South Bend mayor.
O’Rourke, who campaigned in 2018 for a U.S. Senate seat in Texas promising to allow gun owners to keep their AR-15s has now vowed to implement a mandatory buyback program for the weapon if elected president. He scoffed at Buttigieg for suggesting that it was not legislatively possible at the moment.
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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
“I think probably wants to get to the right place, but is afraid of doing the right thing right now,” he said, referring to Buttigieg. “To those who need a weatherman, let me tell you in this country mandatory buybacks are supported by the majority of Americans.”
He criticized Buttigieg for calling his proposal a “shiny object” that was distracting from real change.
“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’s been welcomed into the open by this president and has been armed by weapons of war,” he said.
O’Rourke said he was “offended” by Buttigieg’s response, and demanded his fellow candidates to “do the right thing.”