Democratic 2020 presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke — a former representative from Texas — brusquely brushed off criticisms and questions about former Vice President’s Joe Biden’s advanced age or potential mental acuity issues.
Speaking on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” program on Sunday, O’Rourke said he “could care less” about issues of political infighting, media bickering or challenges to individual candidates’ mental fitness, as Newsweek and other outlets noted.
O’Rourke and host Chuck Todd then focused on the candidate’s debate promise this past Thursday night to grab AR-15s away from law-abiding gun owners in this country by employing mandatory buybacks.
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But Todd couldn’t resist asking O’Rourke to react first to fellow candidate Julián Castro’s jab at Biden’s perceived memory problems — and whether he thinks it’s “legitimate” to question his fellow candidate’s mental fitness to be president.
Biden is 76 (he turns 77 this November, two months from now).
O’Rourke is 46 (he turns 47 later in September).
“No, I could care less about that, to be honest with you,” O’Rourke responded to Todd.
“I was listening to your opening package, and I mean, who the hell cares, right?” he added.
He said something similar a few days ago on CNN.
“That will not defeat Donald Trump,” O’Rourke said then.
“That won’t bring this deeply divided country back together again … That kind of personal attack I don’t think is what we need right now and is insufficient to the challenges we face.”
On Sunday on “Meet the Press,” O’Rourke also said, “You’ve got tens of millions of people who cannot see a doctor. In Texas, where I am right now, the largest provider of mental health care services is the county jail system. You’ve got 10 years left with which to confront climate change; you’ve got 10 years left within which to confront climate change or it is all over for all of us.”
He went on, “You’ve got kids in cages, families who have been separated — there’s some really urgent issues that we’ve got to be addressing right now.”
“The last thing I care about is Joe Biden’s age or some inter-party fight between candidates up on that stage,” added O’Rourke. “We’ve got to be talking about the big things that people in this country care about.”
Watch the interview here — and share your thoughts: