Democratic Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke was forced to explain why he goes by the nickname “Beto” after a student at a CNN town hall asked how he is connected to the Hispanic community.
O’Rourke, who is running for U.S. Senate against Republican Ted Cruz, attended a CNN town hall event on Thursday night in McAllen, Texas. (O’Rourke’s ‘Lifelong Republican’ Mother More Often Votes Democrat)
CNN’s Dana Bash noted that there are questions as to why O’Rourke — whose legal first name is Robert — goes by “Beto,” before allowing student Khalid Aboujamous to ask O’Rourke a question.
“Congressman, throughout the campaign, you have been attacked for being what Donald Trump Jr. has called ‘an Irish guy pretending to be Hispanic,'” Aboujamous said. “So what does the Hispanic community mean to you and what relationships do you have with that community?”
What’s authentic about an Irish guy pretending to be Hispanic? Asking for some friends Texas. https://t.co/c30OjHdN8j
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) October 15, 2018
O’Rourke explained that “Beto” was a childhood nickname and claimed, “You know this in McAllen [Texas] — if you are born Robert, or Albert, or Gilbert, or Umberto — your folks, your friends, your community calls you Beto.”
O’Rourke has previously addressed the nickname by posting a photo of himself as a child wearing a sweater that read, “Beto.” (O’Rourke: ‘I Would Not’ Have Voted To Confirm Kavanaugh)
“Born and raised in fourth generation in El Paso in a community that is more than 80-percent Mexican-American,” O’Rourke added. “This is part of who I am. It’s where I’m from.”
— Beto O’Rourke (@BetoORourke) March 7, 2018
The Senate candidate concluded by saying that he is “fiercely proud” of being from a Hispanic American community.