Beto O’Rourke may be joining an already crowded pool of 2020 Democratic presidential contenders but voters may have to get used to calling him by his given name.
White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley took a jab at the former Texas congressman during an interview with Fox News on Thursday, correcting anchor Bill Hemmer when he referred to the newly announced 2020 candidate by his nickname.
“Beto O’Rourke is now in the game for the Democratic primary, what does the president think about that?” Hemmer asked Gidley, referring to O’Rourke’s announcement on Thursday that he was running for president.
“First of all, you pronounced it wrong, it’s Robert Francis, that’s number one,” Gidley quipped. “Number two, we don’t care who gets in the race, the fact is the president’s going to win re-election.”
He went on to discuss how Democrats will have to “answer for their new set of policies which is making American socialist.”
“The president stands for the American people, he’s done that the entire time,” Gidley said, calling out Democrats and their policies on “those who are born and killed outside the womb. They want that to be the norm. And they also are standing for a Green New Deal that would absolutely destroy this economy, ruin people in poverty across the world who rely on fossil fuels and would destroy American lives.”
“You answered that question by calling him Robert Francis, “Hemmer circled back. “Is that how the president will refer to him?”
“Well, he has called him that before on the campaign trail,” Gidley chuckled. “And why wouldn’t he, that’s his name.”
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 46-year-old three-term congressman, who was defeated in the midterm elections last year by Sen. Ted Cruz, had previously insisted that he would not be running for president in 2020.
President Trump reacted to news of O’Rourke’s announcement by remarking on his hand gestures.
Asked about the newest 2020 candidate, Beto O’Rourke, President Trump says, “I think he’s got a lot of hand movement. I’ve never seen so much hand movement … I’ve actually never seen anything quite like it” https://t.co/4oFlVSGma6 pic.twitter.com/1PN27SDgk1
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) March 14, 2019
“I’ve never seen so much hand movement,” Trump told reporters.”I’ve actually never seen anything quite like it.”
O’Rourke had explained during his Senate campaign that he has been called “Beto,” the Spanish nickname for Roberto, since he was born in El Paso, Texas near the Mexico border.
On Twitter Thursday, “Robert Francis” was getting a lot of attention.
That is his name…..
— These are the times…. 🇺🇸 (@therealADWarren) March 14, 2019
Does #Beto ‘s wife call him Beto or Robert Francis?
We all know down here in Texas he used his nickname to draw Hispanic votes bc the name Beto is “familia” or family.
— Signpost365 (@signpost365) March 14, 2019
How dare they refer to him by name.
— Chief (@akmiles4) March 14, 2019
ROBERT FRANCIS O’Rourke, use your REAL NAME.
— vanhook2 (@vanhook2) March 14, 2019
I truly find it ironic that Robert Francis O’Rourke is not getting called to the carpet for his nickname. We know if he was a Conservative or a Republican it would be called cultural appropriation of the Latino culture.
— jackhayiv (@falcon0971) March 14, 2019
The horror.😱 Calling him by his name. 🤦♂️
— jeff (@hunterjeff2) March 14, 2019
There not wrong. That is his name.
— 🛡️ Alpha_Paladin 🛡 (@Alpha_Paladin) March 14, 2019