Beto O’Rourke’s outburst divides political opinion, impact on campaign remains unclear

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Texas gubernatorial hopeful Beto O’Rourke’s emotional outburst during Wednesday’s press conference on the Uvalde School shooting has drawn conflicting responses from either side of the aisle even as he appeared to shift his own stance in the aftermath. 

O’Rourke interrupted Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s press conference, telling the state leadership that they “are doing nothing.” Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin responded by calling O’Rourke a “sick son of a b—h” before the latter was escorted out of the auditorium. 

His actions have drawn accusations of political theater as well as praise – depending on which side of the aisle you stand on. The Wall Street Journal editorial board labeled the act a “stunt that could make or break his campaign.” 

Political strategists remain divided on that matter. 

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“What Beto did was incredibly brave,” Jennifer Holdsworth Karp, Democratic Strategist, told Fox News Digital. “He respectfully waited for Governor Abbot to conclude his remarks, and then stood up to the Republicans on that stage without raising his voice.”

“More Democrats should follow his example and push back against the gaslighting and lies that come from the right after innocent children are slaughtered with weapons of war,” she added. “I’m not sure Beto cares if it will help him or hurt him politically because it was the right thing to do, but I will tell any candidate who will listen that they should follow his lead.”

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Hosts on ABC’s “The View” certainly agreed with Karp, with co-host Sunny Hostin arguing O’Rourke was “saying the right things.” 

But Texas-based GOP consultant Matt Mackowiak believes that O’Rourke’s display disqualifies him as a potential leader in the state. 

House Dems praise Beto O’Rourke for disrupting Texas Gov. Abbott during Uvalde school shooting press event

“Texans desire our leaders to be statesmen,” Mackowiak told Fox News Digital. “To assume the mantle of leadership, you must always be in control of your emotions and behavior and never make a serious, solemn event about your own political aspirations.”

“Beto O’Rourke showed yet again that he is unfit for high office by causing a scene while federal, state and local officials were briefing the media and the local community,” he continued. “Beto’s desire to ‘go viral’ was obscene and disqualifying.”

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O’Rourke has apparently felt the political winds at his back as he has taken an increasingly strong stance on assault weapons, recently editing his campaign website from urging officials “to reduce” the number of AR-15’s and AK-47’s on the streets to saying he doesn’t believe “any civilian should own” such a weapon. 

Fox News’ David Rutz and Peter Hasson contributed to this report.