Editor’s note: Video contains obscenity that may be unsuitable for some audiences.
(Headline USA) During a campaign stop in Mineral Wells, Texas, Democrat gubernatorial candidate Robert “Beto” O’Rourke lashed out with an expletive at an audience member who laughed during a melodramatic description of the Uvalde elementary school massacre.
The video appeared to show that the audience was particluarly casual, many of them vocalizing their assent as O’Rourke vividly described the assault.
The failed presidential candidate was railing against how the 18-year-old gunman in Uvalde was able to legally purchase a weapon “originally designed for use on the battlefields.”
When a person in the crowd laughed, O’Rourke paused and pointed in their direction. “It may be funny to you, motherf***er, but it’s not funny to me,” he said.
Supporters stood up and cheered.
Video shows a small number of people in the crowd were holding signs for Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, O’Rourke’s opponent in November, though it does not show who O’Rourke was specifically addressing.
Chris Evans, a campaign spokesman, said the town hall continued without any further encounters.
By Thursday, video of O’Rourke’s exchange at a town hall had drawn millions of views on social media, becoming the latest stunt in which he sought to use the Uvalde tragedy as a springboard for grabbing headlines.
Nineteen children and two teachers were killed in the May massacre.
A day after the shooting, O’Rourke interrupted a news conference led by Abbott and accused the two-term governor of not taking action before he was escorted out by security.
During his run for president in 2019, O’Rourke notoriously ratcheted up the rhetoric on gun control as other Democratic candidates downplayed their desires to repeal Second Amendment rights.
“Hell yes, we’re gonna take your AR-15” he said on a debate stage.
He has sought to give a more moderated message on firearms during his run for governor in gun-friendly Texas.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press