Beto O’Rourke, the newest addition to the swath of Democrats running for president, addressed CBS reporter Gayle King’s questions about his experience on Thursday in his first national interview since announcing his 2020 bid for the White House.
King, co-host of “CBS This Morning,” spoke with the former Texas congressman in Iowa after O’Rourke made his way through campaign events the same day he announced his candidacy online. CBS aired a clip of the interview Thursday evening, and the full interview will be broadcast Friday morning.
Taking an indirect swipe at President Donald Trump in the clip, King suggested that voters might now be looking for a candidate with more political experience than O’Rourke has.
“People have said, ‘We had a candidate who didn’t have vast political experience. And maybe now this time, we need somebody in the White House who has been around the block a few times, who has greater experience than yourself,’” she began. “Clearly you’re not deterred by that.”
O’Rourke responded by saying the concerns depend “on what kind of experience you’re looking for.”
“I’ve got experience hiring people, creating jobs, developing the economy of the community in which I live,” he told King. “Serving in local government, with Amy [O’Rourke] helping to raise a family and finding ways to work across the aisle, to get legislation passed even when I’m in the minority party.”
The former lawmaker from El Paso, Texas, also spoke about impeaching Trump, which he previously endorsed during his 2018 campaign against Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
Asked if he still wants Trump impeached, O’Rourke said, “If there was not collusion, there was at least the effort to collude with a foreign power ... if there was not obstruction of justice, there certainly was the effort to obstruct justice.”
Trump himself has continued to deny collusion with Russia in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, though many people from his campaign have been arrested, indicted and sentenced.
The Texas Democrat stressed that presidential impeachment is up to Congress for now, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has repeatedly stated her opposition to the idea. But he said Trump can still be voted out in 2020.
“How Congress chooses to address those sets of facts and the findings which I believe we are soon to see from the Mueller report is up to them,” O’Rourke said. “I think the American people are going to have a chance to decide this at the ballot box in November 2020, and perhaps that’s the best way for us to resolve these outstanding questions.”
O’Rourke announced his presidential candidacy Thursday morning with a video, where he sat next to wife, Amy O’Rourke, and said the economic, democratic and climate crises “will either consume us or they will afford us the greatest opportunity to unleash the genius of the United States of America.”
For months, Americans speculated about whether O’Rourke would run for president after losing to Cruz in November by 3 percentage points. During his grassroots Senate campaign, he increased Texas voter turnout, hauled in about $80 million — double the amount Cruz raised — and increased his political star power with his social media presence and upbeat, bipartisan message.
This story has been updated with more comments from O’Rourke.