After nearly one month, the Oct. 15 Democratic debate is here. It feels just like yesterday when 20 candidates took the stage to explain why they're the best fit for the White House, but now the numbers have dwindled to just 12. The news cycle has been a lot recently to say the least, but these tweets about Pete Buttigieg and Beto O'Rourke's debate exchange on gun control are dragging both candidates.
Gun violence has been one of the major topics discussed at these Democratic debates, and the Oct. 15 debate was no different. When asked about O'Rourke's viral moment from the previous debate when he stated he would deal with gun violence by buying back guns, Buttigieg called out the former representative for not having a detailed plan on how he plans to buy back those weapons from owners who may not want to give them up. From there things got... interesting.
Buttigieg called out O'Rourke's plan by saying that America "can't wait for purity tests" on perfect gun control. "People are dying in the streets," Buttigieg said, citing gun policy proposals like universal background checks, red flag laws, bans on sales of high-capacity magazines, or disarming domestic abusers. "We cannot wait for purity tests, we have to just get something done," he said.
O'Rourke pushed back. "This is not a purity test," he countered. "This is a crisis, and we've got to do something about it, and those challenges that you described are not mutually exclusive to the ones I'm describing."
The moment got heated, particularly when Buttigeg told O'Rourke that he didn't need lessons from him on courage. "The problem is the policy, and I don't need lessons from you on courage, political or personal," Buttigeg said, saying the focus should be on challenging gun rights advocacy group the National Rifle Association (NRA).
O'Rourke clapped back to Buttigeg's comment by calling it a "mischaracterization" and criticized the mayor's statement that O'Rourke's gun control plan is a "shiny object" policy. "I don't care what that meant to me or my candidacy, but to those who have survived gun violence ... that was a slap in the face." Elite Daily reached out to the Buttigieg and the O'Rourke campaigns for comment on the exchange, but did not immediately hear back.
Watch the full exchange below.
The exchange drew attention both for the tone and the subject, with some feeling it was disrespectful to survivors of gun violence, and others just kind of... disappointed at the exchange.
Some people felt that Buttigieg was out of line for his remarks to O'Rourke, particularly given that the Texas city of El Paso — O'Rourke's hometown — was the site of a mass shooting which killed 22 people. Some even referenced O'Rourke's "slap in the face" line.
But a lot of people just couldn't get past the appearance of bickering.
On Tuesday, Oct. 15, 12 candidates took the stage in Westerville, Ohio for the next Democratic debate co-hosted by The New York Times and CNN. The candidates included Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, South Bend Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, entrepreneur Andrew Yang, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas, entrepreneur Tom Steyer, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, and former United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro. This marks Steyer's first debate appearance, and Gabbard was back on stage after not making the cut for the Sept. 12 debate.
While the past few debates have had their fair share of drama, the recent news about the official impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump and the whistleblower complaint has raised the stakes significantly. On Sept. 24, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced that the House would begin official impeachment investigations into the president. In a statement to Elite Daily, the White House characterized the investigation as Democrats' attempt to "weaponize politics" and called it "nothing new."
Just when we thought this political climate couldn't get any more dramatic, the latest Democratic debate proved us wrong.