Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke said this weekend that he is not sure if he is “bi-cultural.”
“I live in a bi-cultural community. My folks and their parents and generation that preceded them were from all over Europe so I don’t know if I would consider myself bi-cultural if you’re asking US and Mexico, but I’m very proud to live in a bicultural community,” O’Rourke reportedly told reporters days after formally entering the 2020 presidential race. “And for my kids to be going to a dual language public school where they are learning math in English and Spanish.”
Over the last 3 days, Beto O’Rourke has talked a lot about how living in the bicultural community of El Paso has shaped his views. @leylasantiago asked O’Rourke if he thinks he’s bicultural—he said he doesn’t know, but he’s “very proud to live in a bicultural bilingual community” pic.twitter.com/uSj1tSlhfP
— DJ Judd (@DJJudd) March 17, 2019
White liberal media reporters have gushed over how O’Rourke can speak Spanish on the stump, signaling to white audiences that he is bilingual, and have written countless profiles about how O’Rourke comes from a “bi-cultural” community in El Paso, Texas.
But as he has done with numerous questions since he launched his candidacy—Medicare for all, impeachment, reparations—O’Rourke gave a non-answer clouded in soaring rhetoric, which already seems to be one of his trademarks on the stump.
Earlier in the year, O’Rourke called for the border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso to be torn down. He then later partly walked back those remarks.
“I think there are in some places a need for a physical barrier, and here’s what I would do: I would work with local stakeholders, the property owners, the communities, those who actually live there, to determine the best security solution,” O’Rourke reportedly later said after receiving the “El Pasoan of the Year” award, according to CNN. “We saw in El Paso a solution in search of a problem imposed on us by people who did not live here.”
On Meet the Press on Sunday, O’Rourke claimed that he could best talk about immigration issues in the 2020 election cycle–even though other candidates like former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) are also from border states–because he is “the only candidate from the United States/Mexico border at a time that that dominates so much of our national conversation and legislative efforts and the things that the president talks about.”
“There’s one candidate who’s there who can talk about the profoundly positive impact that immigrants have had on our safety and our security, as well as our success and our strength,” O’Rourke claimed.