WASHINGTON – Beto O'Rourke got some flack for livestreaming himself getting a haircut last week. But the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate on Tuesday said he did it because he wanted to showcase "the American story" of which immigrants are a part.
During a live, televised CNN town hall from Des Moines, Iowa, Tuesday night, the former congressman said he decided to show off his "extraordinary barber who produced this haircut that you are seeing right now."
O'Rourke noted that his barber had immigrated from Juarez — a city in Mexico that is located across the border from El Paso — nine years ago "at the height of some horrific violence." He added that his barber moved to O'Rourke's hometown to start a business, "to create jobs, to contribute to our quality of life, to help tell the American story."
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"This is a country of immigrants and asylum seekers and refugees from the world over," he said. "Nothing to be afraid of, everything to celebrate. That's what we were trying to do."
O'Rourke last week livestreamed on Facebook a haircut he received at Chema's Barber Shop in El Paso, where the Democratic candidate took the time to hold an "impromptu townhall." He gave an update about his children, and answered a number of questions, such as whether he was going to campaign in Puerto Rico and his thoughts on the rising costs of education.
The Texas Democrat also took a moment during Tuesday night's cable news event to reflect on what his father would have thought about him running for president. Patrick "Pat" O'Rourke, who was involved in local politics in El Paso, was hit by a car in 2001 while riding his bicycle and was killed.
Beto O'Rourke said that he thinks his father "would be proud," adding that he would have been proud of how he is running his campaign.
"Being with people, having fun, all about connecting with folks where they are and where they live," he said. "My dad, Pat O’Rourke, never met a stranger, loved every second of being alive, found total joy in serving others."
O'Rourke noted that his father, who was 58 when he died, would not have anticipated this path in his life. He recalled his parents taking out loans for him to attend Columbia University, and how he came home one year and declared "dad, I'm an English major," and remembered seeing "the look of disappointment on his face."
"I don’t think he knew what course or path I was going to take," O'Rourke said.
Despite not being able to witness his presidential bid, the Texas Democrat believes his father would have had a blast joining him on the campaign trail.
"I hope that I’m living up to the expectation that he set for me. I miss him terribly, everyday," he continued. "But i know that if he were with us, he would be having the time of his life."
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Here's why Beto O'Rourke livestreamed his haircut