CBS reporter on scene describes O’Rourke’s shameless stunt at Abbott presser: ‘Very clearly staged’

Remember Beto O’Rourke’s “I’m just born to be in it” Vanity Fair magazine cover?

Well, the current Democratic candidate for Texas governor probably hopes you’ve forgotten it. After all, he eventually admitted that the pretentious cover and accompanying interview did much to torpedo his absurd dreams of occupying the Oval Office. But it suggests a pattern of ostentatious political stunts, and O’Rourke apparently hasn’t learned his lesson.

On Wednesday afternoon, he interrupted Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s press conference on the Uvalde school shooting to shout and rave at those assembled. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who was present, told him he was “out of line and an embarrassment,” and Sen. Ted Cruz told him to “sit down.”

O’Rourke’s stunt was pretty universally panned, and now a CBS News reporter is confirming that it certainly appeared he had staged the interruption.

CBS News’ Janet Shamlian was present at the presser and noted that it appeared as if O’Rourke had sent in “seat holders” to occupy some chairs in the front row. She noticed that they quickly vacated them when O’Rourke showed up to make a spectacle of himself.

Reporting on the incident, Shamlian described how the whole thing went down from her vantage point in the third row.

“Well, I did see what happened just before the press conference started,” she explained. “I was in the third aisle—row —third row on the aisle, rather, and there were two people across the aisle from me and a moment before the press conference started, they got up from their seats when Beto walked in.”

Sounds awfully fishy.

Shamlian continued: “So they were seat holders for him. And then he sat down, so his presence wasn’t really noticed in the 15 or 20 minutes that people were gathering inside because he was not in the room. So this seems something very clearly staged by Beto O’Rourke and his campaign wanting to confront the governor at this moment.”

O’Rourke’s stunt is unlikely to win him many admirers, and his grandstanding during a somber event was tasteless in the extreme.

“You are doing nothing,” O’Rourke shouted at Gov. Abbott, in what seemed like almost scripted remarks. “You said this was not predictable—this was totally predictable, and you choose not to do anything.”

Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin was clearly not happy with the preening politician’s interruption and immediately shouted him down.

“Sir, you are out of line,” he said. “Please leave this auditorium. I can’t believe you’re a sick son of a b-tch who would come to a deal like this to make a political issue.”

“He needs to get his a– out of here.”

If you have the stomach for it, you can see Beto O’Rourke’s disgraceful behavior in the video above.


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Todd Jaquith


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