Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke called out a heckler who laughed as he discussed the Uvalde elementary school shooting, telling them “it may be funny to you mother******, but it’s not funny to me” in a now-viral video.
The tense exchange, which was captured on video and posted to Twitter, took place on Wednesday during a town hall speech in Mineral Wells, Texas.
“It may be funny to you mother******, but it’s not funny to me,” O’Rourke told the heckler.
O’Rourke was expressing his outrage over the mass shooting, which left 19 children and two adults dead on May 24, when the heckler could be heard laughing.
.@BetoORourke to a Greg Abbott supporter who laughed when the gubernatorial candidate mentioned the mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas: “It may be funny to you motherfucker, but it’s not funny to me.” #txlege
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) August 11, 2022
Snappy Response Goes Viral With Nearly Four Million Views As Of Thursday
His snappy response garnered applause from the audience, and nearly four million views on Twitter as of Thursday.
Prior to the viral moment, O’Rourke lambasted gun laws with the state, noting that the gunman had legally purchased the firearms which were “originally designed for use in combat.”
“Now, 11 weeks since we lost 19 kids and their two teachers, shot to death with a weapon originally designed for use in combat,” O’Rourke said, per KXAN. “Legally purchased by an 18 year old who did try to obtain one when he was 16 or 17, but followed the law that’s on the books, ladies and gentlemen.”
O’Rourke has pushed for stronger and more restrictive gun laws, and will be facing off against Republican Governor Greg Abbott in November.
O’Rourke Continues Campaign Platform Of More Restrictive Gun Control
The Democratic candidate has campaigned on a platform of reversing the state’s permitless carry law, pursuing red flag laws as well as banning AR-15-style weapons, among other gun control measures following the Uvalde shooting.
For his part, a representative for Abbott roundly rejected the idea that the heckler was affiliated with the governor’s campaign, KXAN reports.
“This individual is not in any way affiliated with [Abbott’s] campaign,” said Abbott’s Campaign Communication Director Mark Miner.
Although O’Rourke’s viral moment drew applause from the crowd and on social media, he’s still trailing Gov. Abbott in the polls.
O’Rourke Still Trails Behind Texas GOP Governor Greg Abbott In Polls
Brian Smith, a professor of political science at St. Edwards University told the outlet that his current platform will not be enough to defeat the incumbent governor.
“He’s got to figure out in the next three months, what else does Beto O’Rourke bring to the table? If it’s just swearing and gun control, that’s not going to be enough to defeat Governor Abbott,” he said.
Mass shootings have plagued the country in recent months, with about 314 incidents in 2022 alone as of last month, per Insider. That averages out to roughly 13 mass shootings a week, according to NBC Philadelphia.
O’Rourke had previously served as U.S. representative for Texas’s 16th congressional district from 2013 to 2019.