Former Congressman Beto O’Rourke ended his flailing presidential campaign on Friday, right before the Iowa state party’s big event.
O’Rourke had everything going for him as he entered the presidential race: A post-Senate race media coverage glow, a big appearance with Oprah, a private meeting with former President Barack Obama, and winning some of the top political talent in the business to help him run his campaign.
But his lack of discipline and poor fundraising ultimately doomed his campaign as he grew impatient with the process of running for president.
Here is a look back at the big moments in Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke’s campaign:
Beto Announces Run for President:
“I want to be in it. Man, I’m just born to be in it,” he told Vanity Fair right before announcing his presidential run.
O’Rourke was riding high after photographer Annie Leibovitz followed him around Texas as he organized a counter-rally against President Donald Trump, who was also rallying in Beto’s hometown of El Paso.
“Man, I’m just born to be in it.” Beto O’Rourke seemed to come from nowhere to the brink of a presidential candidacy—but he’s been on this journey for his whole life. O’Rourke spoke with Joe Hagan. Photographs by Annie Leibovitz. https://t.co/WhmQGZnbUg pic.twitter.com/a7DCoaZdtd
— VANITY FAIR (@VanityFair) March 13, 2019
Beto Livestreaming His Dentist Appointment … and everything else
Prior to his announcement, O’Rourke made headlines for live-streaming his trip to the dentist on social media.
— David Wright (@DavidWright_CNN) January 10, 2019
Beto O'Rourke is livestreaming his haircut. At one point, he notes that his earhair is getting trimmed. Something he says needs to be done as you get older. pic.twitter.com/um040cwpTU
— Matt Viser (@mviser) May 15, 2019
Absolutely no one asked for this content pic.twitter.com/R5LpS4dFhg
— Caleb Hull 🎅🏻🎁 (@CalebJHull) October 2, 2019
The ‘Flailer’: Beto’s hand movements
After O’Rourke officially launched his presidential campaign, President Donald Trump noticed that he had a problem with frantically moving his hands as he spoke.
“I’ve never seen so much hand movement. I said, ‘Is he crazy or is that just how he acts?’” Trump noted in March.
In October, Trump celebrated that O’Rourke was sinking in the polls.
“I called him right, remember? The flailing arms?” Trump asked, waving his arms around. “Nobody noticed it, I noticed it, the flailer, remember he was flailing all over the place.”
Beto’s Big WTF Moment
“I don’t know, like, members of the press, what the fuck?” O’Rourke snapped after they asked the congressman if Trump could heal the nation after the mass shooting in El Paso.
“He’s not tolerating racism, he’s promoting racism. He’s not tolerating violence, he’s inciting racism and violence in this country,” he said.
O’Rourke’s comment immediately drew headlines, as leftists who felt the same way about the president cheered him on.
“Can the F-Bomb Save Beto?” Politico wondered in an article.
O’Rourke was also caught on tape dropping f-bombs during a documentary on his campaign against Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018. “I know I was a giant asshole to be around sometimes,” O’Rourke acknowledged after the documentary was released.
In March, O’Rourke even promised a voter that he would stop using the f-word.
“I don’t intend to use the F-word going forward. Point taken, and very strongly made. … We’re going to keep it clean,” he said.
But in July, he joked with writer Jemele Hill that ‘Don’t Be a Fuckstick” could be his new campaign slogan.
Kicking out Breitbart Editor Joel Pollak
While it is unclear whether Beto O’Rourke personally ordered it, his campaign staff asked police to escort Breitbart editor Joel Pollak out of a campaign event with students at a historically black college event.
“A campaign staffer made the call to ask him to leave to ensure that the students attending the event felt comfortable and safe while sharing their experiences as young people of color,” the campaign admitted afterward.
Several establishment journalists criticized the effort to suppress the press at the event.
Beto Compares Donald Trump to the Third Reich and Hitler
Beto O’Rourke loved to compare President Donald Trump and his presidency to the “Third Reich,” arguing that Trump was just as bad as Hitler.
“This idea from Goebbels and Hitler that the bigger the lie and the more often you repeat it, the more likely people are to believe it,” he said in an interview with MSNBC’s Al Sharpton. “That is Donald Trump to a T.”
O’Rourke also said that Trump’s political rallies were like an “impromptu Nuremberg rally” like the ones held in Nazi Germany.
Beto O’Rourke Dumps on Iowa
Despite traveling and campaigning extensively in Iowa, O’Rourke never got much traction in the state.
After a mass shooting took place at a Wal-Mart in his home town of El Paso, O’Rourke canceled his events in Iowa and suspended his campaign for a time.
When he returned to the trail, O’Rourke scoffed at the “corn dogs and Ferris wheels” campaign optics at the Iowa State Fair and said he would campaign around the entire country instead.
“To those places, where Donald Trump has been terrorizing and terrifying and demeaning our fellow Americans, that’s where you will find me in this campaign,” he said.
O’Rourke’s support naturally plunged in Iowa, as he was barely polling at one percent before he ended his campaign.
Hell yes we’re taking away your guns
“Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,” O’Rourke said during the September debate, sparking American gun owners to dare him to “come and take it.”
His remark drew a lot of applause and earned a lot of headlines, and even a campaign t-shirt, but many Democrats, such as fellow 2020 hopeful Mayor Pete Buttigieg, believed that his remarks went too far.
“Well, shit,” O’Rourke responded, suggesting that Buttigieg was allowing “triangulating, poll-testing, and focus-groups driving their response.”
O’Rourke tried the attack against Buttigieg in the October debate, but it did not go well.
O’Rourke Threatens Tax Status of Christian Churches
At a CNN LGTB+ presidential forum, Beto O’Rourke threatened to end the tax exempt status of churches who continued to oppose same-sex marriage.
“There can be no reward, no benefit, no tax break for anyone or any institution, any organization in America that denies the full human rights, and the full civil rights of every single one of us,” he said in response to a question from CNN’s Don Lemon.
Beto Botched Reddit AMA
Whoops. Beto O’Rourke forgot that the internet was forever, and tried to delete a comment about allowing felons to vote during a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) forum.
“HE DELETED THE RESPONSE THAT INCLUDED RESTORING VOTING RIGHTS,” one user revealed, prompting an online uproar. His answer was down-voted by 260 points.
That, and trolls accusing him of being a “furry” made the entire event very awkward.