Beto O’Rourke was “born” to run ... for president.
The former Texas congressman announced on Thursday that he will enter the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination in a video featuring his wife, Amy.
“Amy and I are happy to share with you that I am running to serve you as the next president of the United States of America,” O’Rourke says in the video.
“This is a defining moment of truth for this country, and for every single one of us,” O’Rourke continues. “The challenges that we face right now, the interconnected crises in our economy, our democracy and our climate, have never been greater. And they will either consume us, or they will afford us the greatest opportunity to unleash the genius of the United States of America.”
I am running to serve you as the next president. The challenges we face are the greatest in living memory. No one person can meet them on their own. Only this country can do that, and only if we build a movement that includes all of us. Say you're in: https://t.co/EKLdkVET2u pic.twitter.com/lainXyvG2n— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) March 14, 2019
He adds: “In other words, this moment of peril produces, perhaps, the greatest moment of promise for this country and for everyone inside of it.”
First stop on O’Rourke’s 2020 presidential campaign: A coffee shop in Keokuk, Iowa, where he took questions from would-be caucus-goers.
“This setting right now, the very first event of our campaign for president, is an example of the way I wish to campaign across this country for every single American,” O’Rourke said. “I could care less [about] your party, your persuasion, your religion, anything other than the fact that right now we are all Americans, we are all human beings and we are doing everything in our power for one another, for this great country and for every generation that follows. This is democracy.”
He vowed to run a “positive” campaign in what is already a crowded Democratic presidential field.
“It is incumbent upon every single one of us ... to hold each other accountable not just for what we promise, enact or fail to enact, but how we conduct ourselves on the campaign trail,” O’Rourke said. “Critically important that we not denigrate or demean any other candidate. We don't talk about their personal lives.”
He added: “Any single Democrat running today — and I may not be able to enumerate every single one of them right now — would be far better than the current occupant of the White House.”
It was O’Rourke’s first-ever visit to Iowa. A formal kickoff rally in O’Rourke’s hometown of El Paso, Texas, is planned for later this month.
Kim in Keokuk! Thanks for the first photo of our campaign for president. pic.twitter.com/2nhnw2PrmO— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) March 14, 2019
O'Rourke confirmed his 2020 plans on Wednesday night in a text message to El Paso NBC affiliate KTSM-TV.
“I’m really proud of what El Paso did and what El Paso represents. It’s a big part of why I’m running,” O’Rourke wrote.
Earlier in the day, Vanity Fair magazine published a cover story on O’Rourke, chronicling his thinking on whether to jump into the race.
“I’m just born to do this,” he told the magazine.
O’Rourke catapulted to national prominence during his failed bid to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in the 2018 midterm elections.
President Trump campaigned hard for Cruz, lobbing attacks against O’Rourke as he campaigned in the Lone Star State.
"Beto O’Rourke is a total lightweight compared to Ted Cruz," Trump tweeted in October. "And he comes nowhere near representing the values and desires of the people of the Great State of Texas. He will never be allowed to turn Texas into Venezuela!"
Despite O’Rourke’s narrow loss, his high-profile candidacy helped Democrats retake House seats and control of the chamber.
When it became clear that O’Rourke was considering a run in 2020, Trump again mocked the Democratic phenom.
“I thought you were supposed to win before you run for president,” Trump told reporters in December.
O'Rourke becomes the 15th Democrat to enter the race to decide who will take on Trump in the general election.
Speaking to reporters at the White House on Thursday morning, Trump was asked about O'Rourke's campaign announcement.
“I think he’s got a lot of hand movement. I've never seen so much hand movement," Trump said. "And I said, 'Is he crazy, or is that just the way he acts?'"
Trump declined to say who in the Democratic field represents the biggest threat to his reelection.
"Whoever it is, I'll take them on," he said.
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