Rahm Emanuel on Democratic Enthusiasm for Beto O'Rourke: You Don't Usually Promote a Loser

November 29, 2018

In an appearance Thursday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said that in 2020, Democrats should support a proven winner instead of a "loser" like Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D., Texas).

"If Beto O'Rourke wants to go and run for president, God bless him. He should put his hat in and make his case. But he lost. You don't promote a loser to the top of the party," Emanuel said.

Despite previous insistences that he was not interested in higher office, O'Rourke told reporters on Monday he would not rule out a 2020 run. The Texas Democrat received extensive national attention during his failed Senate bid against Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), shattering fundraising records while losing by 3 points.

Emanuel, the former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair, said he wanted someone who understood riding the momentum of a successful midterm to a White House win.

"The next two years are about setting up for 2020," Emanuel said.  "You need a veteran ... you want Nancy Pelosi, she's as cagey as Mitch McConnell is ruthless ... and I want a veteran who understands what happens in 1990 that led to 1992 and 2006 that led to 2008."

Pelosi received 203 votes from the Democratic caucus to be their nominee for speaker of the House. Thirty-two Democrats voted against her.  Several incoming House Democrats ran on campaign platforms promising "new blood" in the party leadership.

"When you look across the elections that were very strong for Democrats, in the House and in the statehouses, Nancy Pelosi led the Democratic party for the last two years from a really bad election in 2016," Emanuel said. "I'm from Chicago. Maybe I'm old school. To the victor goes the spoils."