Chris Matthews holds a college tour event with Texas Democratic Senate nominee Beto O'Rourke.
"We need a senator who can get through to the president or stand up to him, if that's the only way to get this done, to make sure that we protect the livelihood and the resources that we have here in this state, not to mention some of that really hateful rhetoric that we -- that we started out with," Matthews declared.
Highlights, via MSNBC:
On the current racial climate in America Beto said, “The invitation to hate openly, unapologetically, to call Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals, to call asylum seekers animals, an infestation, to describe white nationalists, Klansmen, neo-Nazis as very fine people, that has certainly contributed to the environment that we see in this country at this moment. The challenge, though, is not to assess blame, but to try to lead by example. That's what I see here in Houston, the most diverse city in the United States of America.” He added, “We are more than the president of the United States, the current occupant of the White House. I know that from traveling the state and finding Republicans who may have voted for Trump who don't approve of this kind of behavior, this kind of rhetoric...”
On Trump’s comments about getting rid of the 14th Amendment, Beto said, “Interesting that he drops this proposal with a week to go until the November 6 election./// Interesting that he tries to stoke paranoia and fear about a group of migrants who are still hundreds of miles, weeks away from the U.S.-Mexico border, if they even make it this far. I think he's trying to play upon the worst impulses of this country, instead of speaking to our ambitions, our hopes, our dreams, those things that we can achieve if we all come together.”
On the notion of militarizing the border Beto said, “This idea that we could send 5,000 U.S. service members to the border and somehow stop migrants, refugees, asylum seekers fleeing the most dangerous countries in the hemisphere, or that we could build a 2,000-mile wall, at a cost of $30 billion, where we'd have to take someone's ranch or farm or property through the use of eminent domain to build something that we don't need, at a time of record security and safety for border communities like mine in El Paso, perhaps yours, wherever you are on the border, it's ridiculous.
And it's again this idea, we can be governed by our fears, and then we are a very small people. Or we can be known by our ambitions. Remember the proud heritage of this defining immigrant story, state and experience that is Texas. That's who we are.We can share with our friends and our colleagues in the Senate El Paso is one of the safest cities in the United States of America, not in spite of, but because we are a city of immigrants.”
On Trump’s comments on and criticisms of the media Beto commented, “This idea fronted by the president that somehow the press are the enemy of the people, reinforced by him tweeting out images of a reporter being hit by a train, body-slammed in a wrestling ring, is incitement to violence. I don't know any other way to call it. That undermines an essential pillar of the American democracy; 242 years in to this audacious experiment that is the exception, not the rule in world history, that we can freely choose those who represent us and guide the course and direction that this country will take, if we don't have a free press, if we cannot make informed decisions at the ballot box, if you can't hold people like me accountable, and make sure that we're held honest to the promises that we made, to the job that we're performing in these positions of public trust, we will lose the very essence of our democracy. Nothing guarantees us a 243rd or a 244th year, unless of us stand up for the institutions that make us so strong in the first place. So, I think we need to vigorously defend the freedom of the press.”
On the Second Amendment Beto stated, “I strongly support and want to protect the Second Amendment. And I also think it's a great opportunity for Texas to lead it. Tell me a state that has a prouder, longer, richer heritage of responsible gun ownership for hunting, for self-protection, for collection, for sport, for what have you. By and large, we do it responsibly. What better state, then, to lead the national conversation on how we protect more lives in our state and the other states of the union? We lose 30,000 of our fellow Americans to gun violence every year. No other developed country comes even close. So we can either reach the conclusion that there's something wrong with us, inherently bad, maybe even evil, and we should just accept this as a force of nature, or we understand that there is a human solution to a human-caused problem. One step where I find a lot of common ground amongst gun owners and non-gun owners, Republicans and Democrats alike is universal background checks.”
When asked by a University student how many hours of sleep he gets a night, Beto laughed and said, “We are averaging somewhere between four and six. As you all may know fueled by the fine food at Whataburger….but you know what? Driven by people by you, the example and the inspiration you provide, all of these amazing volunteers, all of these folks getting after it right now deciding the election of our lifetimes. I’ve never been more energized, more electrified, more thrilled than I am at this point. So, thank you for being a big part of this.”