Former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke relaunched his presidential bid on Wednesday in El Paso after temporarily suspending his bid to focus on community recovery efforts after the border city faced a deadly shooting at a Wal-Mart location earlier this month.
On Wednesday, O’Rourke resisted calls for his departure from the presidential race, instead doubling down on his White House ambitions. The El Paso native spoke specifically to the issue of racism, saying he feels Americans must address the issue or risk “[dying] in our sleep.”
“We have a racism in America that is as old as America itself,” O’Rourke said. “What President Trump says, and what he does, does not just offend our sensibilities or our understanding of the traditions of this great country. It changes who we are as a country…I’m confident that, at this moment, if we don’t wake up to this threat, we as a country will die in our sleep.”
O’Rourke’s decision to relaunch his bid comes as some Democrats and media members have begun calling on the former Senate hopeful to join the race to unseat Sen. John Cornyn in 2018. However, O’Rourke’s campaign has said he has no interest in joining the race, and the candidate himself addressed these calls in his speech.
“There have even been some that suggest I stay in Texas and run for Senate,” O’Rourke said. “But that would not be good enough for this community. That would not be good enough for this country.”
As O’Rourke relaunches his bid, one Democrat announced his exit from the presidential race on Wednesday. Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper announced his decision to exit the race for the White House on Wednesday, with rumors circulating that he may join the race against Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner.