O'Rourke: Biden Not 'Who We Are Going Forward'

June 13, 2019

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke on Thursday slammed former vice president Joe Biden, saying his candidacy cannot be "who we are going forward."

The former Democratic Texas congressman appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe, where he was asked about Biden's candidacy and how he was going to differentiate himself from the former vice president.

"You cannot go back to the end of the Obama administration and think that's good enough," O'Rourke said. "As much of a horror show as Trump has been. His racism, the disaster of his foreign policy, his punishment of farmers and workers here in this country. We had real problems before Donald Trump became president."

"We cannot return to the past. We cannot simply be about defeating Donald Trump. We got to bring everyone into this democracy to make sure that the most ambitious, aspirational way possible, we confront the greatest challenges that we've ever faced," O'Rourke continued.

Morning Joe co-host Willie Geist followed up by asking him whether he believes Biden is a "return to the past."

"He is and that cannot be who we are going forward. We've got to be bigger. We've got to be bolder. We have to set a much higher mark and be relentless in pursuing that and we've got to importantly invite every single person in," O'Rourke said. "That's what we did in the Texas race. That's what this set of democracy reforms that's at the heart of our campaign calls for us to do, and it's the way that I'm conducting myself on the campaign trail right now."

He was then asked whether he believes Biden should apologize for his vote supporting the war in Iraq, prompting O'Rourke to say the American people have to ask themselves where Biden stands on important issues.

"Did he support the war in Iraq that forever destabilized the Middle East? Does he really believe that women of lower income should be able to make their decision about their own body? Be able to afford  health care in order to that?" O'Rourke said. "On China, he says China is no threat, nothing to worry about and now seems to be changing his message on that, so I'm not exactly sure what he believes or what he should apologize for. I only know that this country should be able to much better. We should be bold and unapologetic about what we want to pursue."

Last month Biden downplayed the threat China could impose on the United States, saying, "China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man."

"I mean, you know, they’re not bad folks, folks. But guess what? They’re not, they’re not competition for us," Biden said.

He offered a tougher stance earlier this week in Iowa, saying, "We are in a competition with China. We need to get tough with China. They are a serious challenge to us, and in some areas a real threat."

Biden also faced scrutiny from Democratic presidential candidates for his support of the Hyde Amendment, which led to a rocky news cycle. He appeared to tell an ACLU representative last month he would end it as president, but he told NBC News last week he supported it. However, he reversed this support after backlash from other 2020 Democratic candidates, including many progressive activists like actress Alyssa Milano, who helped convince Biden to flip-flop.