Beto O’Rourke will not be drawn into a verbal battle with Joe Biden, the former vice president, when he considers a possible 2020 presidential run and so he did not weigh in on whether the Democrat should join what has become a crowded field of potential nominees.
Mr. O’Rourke, 44, told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Monday that the Democratic nomination should not be about one person but rather about building a broad party that “includes a lot of different candidates, a lot of different visions, a lot of different tactics.”
The Texas congressman said that as a “point of view” he thought it “would be foolish” to not include Mr. Biden as a candidate and that the former vice president had shown over the years a willingness to “reach across the aisle.” But Mr. O’Rourke made it clear, in his response to whether Mr. Biden was being considered as a possible candidate, that it was not his place to address a potential nomination bid:
No, he will be considered a candidate as far as I’m concerned. He’s made a lot of contributions to the party and to my career in public service and I certainly will think about what he might be able to offer. But I’m not serving the Biden campaign. They will have to decide on their own leadership. And whether he wants to be a part of that or not, it’s not for me to say.
At the same time, Mr. O’Rourke was eager to join a bipartisan fight for immigration policy that helped him win the Texas senate seat he held for three months last year, telling Mr. Tapper he would stand up to “the discrimination that’s going on in the world today” for the sake of undocumented immigrants.
Mr. O’Rourke said President Donald J. Trump had repeatedly sent mixed messages on the issue and reiterated his support for a bipartisan bill that would “secure our borders, get safe, secure — and certainly to allow these migrants to be given a chance to make their case as to why they’re coming here.”
Instead of running for governor of Texas, Mr. O’Rourke said he would focus on November’s midterm elections and fundraising to hold off Republican Ted Cruz’s bid for reelection.