Congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) gave his debate performance an “A,” despite being mocked mercilessly for some of his weaker debate moments.
Wednesday night was the first round of the first Democratic debate. Ten of the 20 candidates that qualified for the debate took the stage, including O’Rourke.
During the debate, O’Rourke struggled against the arguably weaker field of candidates he had to debate, including a run-in with fellow Texan and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro.
Despite early excitement, O’Rourke’s campaign has stalled out with him tanking in the polls. His campaign greatly needed a breakthrough moment, but given the online reaction, it was not his night.
O’Rourke was hit from all sides, with very few compliments being sent his way.
Robert Francis "Beto" O'Rourke makes me feel sad.
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) June 27, 2019
Not hating on Beto, folks! (I’m from El Paso and am proud of what he’s accomplished.) But Castro is a sharp, charming man and that came through, IMO, and he made an impression.
— Amanda Marcotte (@AmandaMarcotte) June 27, 2019
i don't really think it's all that surprising beto bombed, seeing as his entire meteoric rise was premised on his being more charismatic than uhhh ted cruz
— elizabeth bruenig (@ebruenig) June 27, 2019
Beto 2020 is Jeb! 2016. Discuss.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) June 27, 2019
His most criticized moment was from his very first question. Instead of answering a question about raising taxes, O’Rourke broke out into a Spanish stump speech and was later called out by the moderators for not answering the question.
People on Twitter couldn’t stop laughing at the awkward moment and the reactions from his fellow Democrats, especially Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.).
Moderator: “Mr. O’Rourke, what do you think about this specific tax plan?”
Beto: “Well you see I know Spanish.”
Moderator: “Yeah but the tax plan…”
Beto: “Hola como estas”#DemocraticDebate
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) June 27, 2019
Cory Booker's face while Beto O'Rourke speaks in Spanish LMAO pic.twitter.com/9aaPALihfC
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) June 27, 2019
absolutely no one at the democratic debates:
— Jill Gutowitz (@jillboard) June 27, 2019
From the looks of things, it was not O’Rourke’s best night. But that’s not how he felt about it.
During an interview on CNN’s “New Day,” O’Rourke tried to dodge a question about grading his debate performance, but after being pressured by host Alisyn Camerota, he admitted that he thinks he deserved an “A” grade for his debate performance.
Watch O’Rourke’s answer:
“I’d give myself an ‘A.’ I wanted to make sure I got that point across. I described why I’m doing this, who I’m doing it for, the people that inspired me, and how we’re going to meet these challenges. And it felt like I was able to get that across.”
O’Rourke noted that he felt some candidates were gunning for him specifically during the debate.
“I sure did. But, you know, that’s part of politics and it’s part of the debate. Certainly, one where you have ten candidates on the stage, each of them trying to make their mark. I choose to define myself not against other people. I’m really running not against any of those other candidates but for the United States of America.”
O’Rourke will have about one month to prepare for his next debate, which will be hosted by CNN in the last week of July.