President Donald Trump added Beto O’Rourke to his list of nicknamed politicians, referring to the Democratic presidential candidate as “Dummy Beto” in a tweet Wednesday.
O’Rourke responded to the president’s tweet later in the day, telling reporters in California: “I could care less what the president says on this.” He also responded on twitter, calling Trump a coward.
To be clear: We will buy back every single assault weapon.
We‘ll also license every gun & do a background check on every buyer. That’s what the American people want—and deserve.
The only thing stopping us from ending this epidemic is you & your cowardice. Do the right thing. https://t.co/lPqAv1r9ij
— Beto O’Rourke (@BetoORourke) September 18, 2019
Trump’s criticism of O’Rourke stems from the former El Paso congressman’s call for mandatory buybacks of assault weapons after the deadly mass shooting in his hometown. The proposal got a wide audience last week at the latest Democratic presidential primary debate in Houston, where O’Rourke vowed that “hell, yes,” he wants to take away people’s AR-15s and AK-47s.
Trump’s tweet echoed an argument that U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, made Tuesday. He told reporters that O’Rourke has “thrown gasoline” on the gun debate in Congress with his mandatory buyback crusade.
It is not the first time Trump has lashed out at O’Rourke on Twitter in recent weeks. On the eve of Trump’s trip to El Paso after the anti-immigrant massacre — which O’Rourke attributed to Trump’s rhetoric — the president tweeted that O’Rourke “should respect the victims & law enforcement – & be quiet!”