President Trump is no fan of Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s youth and vigor, and yesterday wondered aloud during an exchange with reporters why the Texas Democrat has been suggested as a potential 2020 presidential candidate even though he fell short in his Senate bid earlier this year.
“I thought you were supposed to win before you run for president,” Trump told reporters gathered in the Oval Office.
As the comment made its way into news cycles and social media, Twitter was quick to point out the irony in the president’s jab, noting that Trump had not won any previous political races before taking office.
“You’ve got to be kidding. The reason he was elected was because he was NOT from within the beltway. He’s the outsider willing to show how bad the system has become,” one user wrote in response to White House AP reporter Zeke Miller’s tweet sharing the quote.
As for losing races before being elected president, Abraham Lincoln proves that can happen.
He lost his first race for the state legislature in 1832, lost a bid for Congress in 1844, lost a bid for Vice President in 1856, and lost a bid for the U.S. Senate in 1858, before being elected president in 1860.
Lincoln is remembered as one of our greatest presidents.
O’Rourke, a previously unheralded lawmaker whose district encompasses El Paso, Texas, garnered significant national media attention for his bid this past fall to unseat GOP Sen. Ted Cruz.
O’Rourke broke records with eye-popping fundraising numbers but never polled ahead of Cruz and wound up losing by 2.6 percentage points.
Still, O’Rourke’s strong showing in ruby-red Texas and the nationwide following he developed have prompted talk that the Texas congressman could mount a 2020 campaign for the White House.
Multiple “draft Beto” groups have formed across the nation to raise money and after initially panning talk that he would run, O’Rourke has more recently suggested that he is considering a White House bid.
In early polling, O’Rourke has consistently polled near the top of potential 2020 candidates, placing third with 11 percent in a recent Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom poll of likely Iowa caucus-goers, with former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders taking the first and second spots, respectively.