President Trump on Monday slammed Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke for his controversial comment from a recent debate about confiscating semi-automatic weapons – arguing that statements like the one made by the former Texas representative make it tougher for Dems to achieve any meaningful legislation regarding firearms.
“I saw this character from Texas,” Trump said of O’Rourke following a meeting in New York with the South Korean president. “Can’t imagine he'll get one vote.”
Trump added: “When Beto starts talking about confiscating guns, it makes it much tougher. Democrats are wasting so much time on nonsense.”
O'Rourke's pointed declaration during a recent debate — "Hell yes, we're gonna take your AR-15, your AK-47" — stoked longstanding fears among gun owners that Democrats are less interested in safety than they are in seizing firearms.
O'Rourke's remarks came in the wake of several high-profile shootings, including two in his home state of Texas that involved AR- or AK-style guns, which resemble military-style weapons and generally carry more rounds than other rifles. A summer of carnage was marked by shootings in Gilroy, Calif.; El Paso, Texas; and Dayton, Ohio; and over a 10-mile stretch between Midland and Odessa, Texas. In all, more than 40 people were killed and about 100 were wounded in the attacks.
Besides stirring up concerns among Second Amendment supporters, O’Rourke’s comment has also been seen by some political observers as hurting his future in Texas, should he choose to run statewide again.
Texas political activists assert that O’Rourke can't win in Texas anymore with these positions.
“O'Rourke's ‘hell yes’ to gun confiscation demonstrates how little he knows about Texans and rifles,” said JoAnn Fleming, the executive director of Grassroots America, We the People PAC, a conservative group in Texas. “By shooting off his mouth, Beto managed to end his political career in Texas, while driving up rifle sales.”
Fox News' Maxim Lott and The Associated Press contributed to this report.