Beto O’Rourke on Wednesday answered his first question at the 2020 Democratic presidential debate in Miami — in both English and Spanish.
The former Texas congressman was asked whether he would support taxing higher earners, as has been proposed by some of his Democratic rivals.
“This economy has got to work for everyone and right now we know that it isn’t,” O’Rourke said. “And it’s going to take all of us coming together to make sure that it does.”
Without pausing, the El Paso native switched to Spanish.
“We need to include every person in the success of this economy,” O’Rourke said, according to a Yahoo News translation. “But if we want to do this we need to include every person in our democracy. Each vote, each voter needs the representation, and every voice needs to listen.”
O’Rourke then switched back to English.
“Right now we have a system that favors those who can pay for access and outcomes,” he said. “That’s how you explain an economy that is rigged to corporations and the very wealthiest. A $2 trillion tax cut that favored corporations while they were sitting on piles of cash and the very wealthiest in this country at a time of historic wealth inequality.”
Wednesday’s debate was broadcast live by NBC, MSNBC and the Spanish-language Telemundo. While the language switch may have caught some viewers by surprise, O’Rourke often delivers answers in both English and Spanish on the campaign trail.
Later, O'Rourke fielded a question in Spanish from Telemundo's José Diaz-Balart, who was co-moderating the debate. The former congressman replied in both Spanish and English.
O'Rourke wasn't the only candidate to deliver an answer in Spanish on Wednesday night. Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro and Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey did so, too.
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