President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE on Thursday mocked Beto O’RourkeBeto O’RourkeBiden will help close out Texas Democrats’ virtual convention: report O’Rourke on Texas reopening: ‘Dangerous, dumb and weak’ Parties gear up for battle over Texas state House MORE’s “crazy” hand movements after the former Texas congressman announced his bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
“I think he’s got a lot of hand movement,” Trump said when asked in the Oval Office about O’Rourke entering the race.
“I’ve never seen so much hand movement. I said, ‘Is he crazy or is that just the way he acts?'” added Trump, who is himself known to be expressive with his hands during campaign rallies and other events.
Trump referenced a video of O’Rourke campaigning in Iowa, where the candidate waved and shook his hands emphatically as he spoke.
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“I’ve actually never seen anything quite like it,” Trump said. “Study it. I’m sure you’ll agree.”
The president declined to say whether he viewed O’Rourke or former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE as a stronger opponent in 2020. Biden has yet to announce whether he’ll run for president again, but he is widely expected to do so.
“Whoever it is, I’ll take him or her on,” Trump said.
O’Rourke officially announced his candidacy for president in a video published Thursday morning, ending months of speculation and joining a steadily growing field of presidential hopefuls.
“This is a defining moment of truth for this country and every single one of us,” O’Rourke said.
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
The El Paso Democrat joins Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Joint Chiefs chairman says he regrets participating in Trump photo-op | GOP senators back Joint Chiefs chairman who voiced regret over Trump photo-op | Senate panel approves 0B defense policy bill Trump on collision course with Congress over bases with Confederate names MORE (D-Mass.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisRand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook McEnany says Juneteenth is a very ‘meaningful’ day to Trump MORE (D-Calif.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Democrats demand Republican leaders examine election challenges after Georgia voting chaos Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk MORE (D-Minn.), Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerRand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants Black lawmakers unveil bill to remove Confederate statues from Capitol Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk MORE (D-N.J.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.), among others, in seeking the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential nomination.
O’Rourke served three terms in Congress before an unsuccessful bid to unseat Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote The Hill’s Morning Report – Trump’s public standing sags after Floyd protests GOP senators introduce resolution opposing calls to defund the police MORE (R-Texas) last year. O’Rourke is a fundraising stalwart and has earned praise from former Obama advisers, Oprah Winfrey and a couple congressional Democrats.
White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley corrected Fox News anchors during an appearance on “America’s Newsroom” on Thursday by noting that O’Rourke’s given name is Robert Francis. He suggested the president would deploy that as a line of attack on the trail.
“He’s called him that before on the campaign trail, and why wouldn’t he? That’s his name,” Gidley said.