President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE on Thursday ripped Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’RourkeBeto O’RourkeBiden will help close out Texas Democrats’ virtual convention: report O’Rourke on Texas reopening: ‘Dangerous, dumb and weak’ Parties gear up for battle over Texas state House MORE over guns and religious liberty during a campaign rally in his home state of Texas.
Trump hammered the former congressman over his recent proposals to confiscate certain types of firearms and suggestion that churches lose their tax-exempt status if they oppose gay marriage.
“Last week a very dumb Democrat candidate for president pledged to revoke the tax-exempt status of many churches and religious charities,” Trump said during a rally at American Airlines Arena in Dallas.
“That was after, a few weeks ago, he said, ‘Excuse me we’re going to take your guns away,'” Trump continued before mocking O’Rourke’s arm gestures. “And I called him right. Remember the flailing arms? Nobody noticed it. I noticed it. The flailer.”
“Beto, in a few short weeks, got rid of guns then got rid of religion,” Trump added. “Those are not two good things in Texas to get rid of.”
The president suggested that O’Rourke’s chances of running a successful Senate campaign against Sen. John CornynJohn CornynSenate headed for late night vote amid standoff over lands bill Koch-backed group launches ad campaign to support four vulnerable GOP senators Tim Scott to introduce GOP police reform bill next week MORE (R-Texas) would be doomed by his performance on the presidential campaign trail.
O’Rourke, who ran an unsuccessful Senate campaign last year against Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote The Hill’s Morning Report – Trump’s public standing sags after Floyd protests GOP senators introduce resolution opposing calls to defund the police MORE (R-Texas), has said he does not plan to run against Cornyn even if he drops out of the presidential race.
“He’s at 0 [percent] right now,” Trump said, mocking O’Rourke’s standing in the crowded Democratic primary race.
“No religion and no guns. I think that’s no good,” Trump continued. “I think he’s pretty light on oil production, too.”
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Trump added: “Nobody’s going to be able to beat John Cornyn.”
O’Rourke, who served three terms as a congressman representing his native El Paso, has made gun control a central part of his campaign following a mass shooting in El Paso over the summer.
He has proposed a mandatory buyback program of assault weapons, though some Democrats have warned that the proposal could turn off voters worried about government overreach. Under O’Rourke’s plan an individual who did not hand over a banned weapon would be fined.
The former Texas congressman also drew blowback from his fellow presidential candidates last week when during an LGBT forum he said he thought that religious institutions that refuse to perform same-sex marriages should lose their tax-exempt status.