by Molly Prince
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel cautioned voters Thursday against nominating Rep. Robert “Beto” O’Rourke of Texas to the Democratic ticket for the 2020 presidential election since he lost his Senate race.
“If Beto O’Rourke wants to go and run for president, God bless him, he should put his hat in and make his case,” Emanuel said on MSNBC. “But, he lost. You don’t usually promote a loser to the top of party and then take a winner and say, ‘We’re going to take your knees off.’”
The El Paso congressman was notably defeated by Republican Sen. Ted Cruz during the midterm election. He gained national attention in August after a constituent asked him if he felt that NFL players kneeling for the national anthem was disrespectful to the country and America’s veterans.
In a now-viral interaction, O’Rourke disagreed and commended the demonstration. The response lavished praise from the Hollywood elite, springboarding the congressman onto the daytime and late night television circuit.
As polls showed the Texas Senate race tightening to a margin of single digits in the months before the election, speculation of O’Rourke entering the national political arena began to percolate. O’Rourke was even included in CNN’s 2020 presidential poll, where he ranked as a top-10 contender.
O’Rourke consistently maintained he definitely would not be running for president. However, he revealed Monday that he changed his mind and is considering a 2020 presidential run.
“Running for Senate, I was 100 percent focused on our campaign, winning that race and then serving the next six years in the United States Senate,” O’Rourke said. “Now that that is no longer possible, you know, we’re thinking through a number of things.”
“Everybody in our party always says the Republicans are so much tougher, so much stronger,” Emanuel said. “Do you think they would take somebody that won and say, ‘You know what your reward is? We’re going to cut your knees off.”‘
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