Beto O’Rourke on National Anthem Protest Controversy: Significant Change Requires ‘These Difficult Conversations’

Wednesday on “The Ellen Show,” Beto O’Rourke, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Texas, discussed his remarks at a town hall last month about the National Anthem protests in the NFL.

O’Rourke said at the town hall that he “can think of nothing more American than to peacefully, standing up, or taking a knee, for your rights, anytime, anywhere, in any place.”

The candidate who is running against Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) told Ellen Degeneres that his controversial comments were met with criticism, but “significant change” in the United States cannot be had without “difficult conversations.”

“[S]ome people were upset, and I tried to say at the outset of the answer — listen, you can come to a different conclusion on this. It doesn’t make you any less American,” O’Rourke explained. “But it’s hard to think of a major or important or significant change that we’ve made as a country that wasn’t painful, that didn’t require these difficult conversations.”

He continued, “These unguarded moments with one another ultimately produce change and progress in the right direction. And so, I hope, in some small way, we’ve contributed to that in the conversation that we’ve had that’s been shared now. And also, in this campaign that we’re running, not against anyone, not against a political party, but for this country at this moment of truth. This moment will define us I feel forever.”

Follow Trent Baker on Twitter @MagnifiTrent


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