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O’Rourke tells Oprah he will decide on 2020 presidential bid by month’s end

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke will decide whether to run for president “before the end of this month,” he told Oprah Winfrey in an interview Tuesday. O’Rourke’s weeks of near-silence ended on a massive stage as he sat down for an interview with Winfrey.

“People have been telling you’re the real deal, so I’ve invited you here to find out if you’re the real deal. So, are you the real deal,” Winfrey asked O’Rourke as he appeared on “Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations from Times Square.”

Winfrey said she first heard about O’Rourke when he was protesting the Trump Administration policy of separating families at the border.

O’Rourke reflected on the controversial policy during his discussion with Winfrey. “Here you have this great country separating little children and babies from their parents after they survived a two-thousand mile journey. They were coming to this country – asylum seekers, immigrants and refugees – and at their most vulnerable and desperate moment, those babies are ripped away from their arms,” O’Rourke said.

The former congressman told Winfrey that Americans are to blame for letting the government go that far. “This (was) happening in your name in this country. Do not blame Donald Trump. Do not blame this on a political party. Do not blame this on someone else. If we’re a democracy, then the government is the people and it’s on every single one of us to make it right,” said O’Rourke.

Winfrey said the first time she heard O’Rourke say that, she got goosebumps.

O’Rourke emboldened Democrats last year by nearly defeating Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in Texas, the country’s largest red state. However, his presidential prospects have recently been overshadowed with the 2020 campaign launches of Senators Kamala Harris of California, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Cory Booker of New Jersey.

O’Rourke’s low profile in recent weeks has taken curious turns. He treated Instagram followers to a glimpse inside his mouth during a teeth cleaning while trying to decry the Trump administration’s border wall. He also recently traveled in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado, but his meandering online posts documenting the journey highlighted things like the open-face roast beef sandwich he had for lunch rather than offering hints about how he’d handle the rigors of a presidential campaign.

O’Rourke’s camp points to his rejection of politics-as-usual – including shunning donations from outside political groups as well as consultants and pollsters while nearly knocking off Cruz – as proof that not following the 2020 pack can pay off.

Though the taping is Tuesday, the interview won’t air on Winfrey’s network until February 16, 2019.


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