Beto O’Rourke ejected Breitbart editor Joel Pollak from a campaign event at Benedict College in South Carolina Tuesday.
Robert Francis O’Rourke, known by his Hispanic nickname “Beto,” hosted the event at the historically black college on Tuesday, which Pollak attended with a press pass. He was first questioned about who he worked for by a Beto staff member, then a few minutes later was asked to leave by campus security. According to a second Beto staff member, known only as Steven, it was because he had been “disruptive” at past events, and that he could either leave voluntarily, or be “officially uninvited” from the campus.
This reporter has covered two O’Rourke events. The first was at a protest outside a shelter for migrant teens in Homestead, Florida, in June; the second was at the College of Charleston “Bully Pulpit” lecture in Charleston, South Carolina, on Monday evening. At no point was there any disruption whatsoever.
This reporter asked a question during a press gaggle on Monday evening; that was the only interaction of any kind with the candidate.
The question asked the Democratic presidential hopeful whether misquoting Trump’s comments on riots in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017 was consistent with O’Rourke’s pledge to “heal” and not “inflame” divisions in this country.
This action from Beto is ironic, given he has previously stated about the importance of the free press, positioning his beliefs against the supposed actions of President Donald J. Trump. He outlined what he would do to “protect press freedom” in a town hall ran by MSBNC last year:
If we don’t have a free press, if we cannot make informed decisions at the ballot box, if we can’t hold people like me accountable, and make sure that we’re held honest to the promises that we made, to the job that we’re performing in these positions of public trust, we’ll lose the essence of our democracy… We need to vigorously defend the freedom of the press… [and] we need to call out violations.
The press is not the enemy of the people but the best defense against tyranny. We need to vigorously defend the freedom of the press. It’s essential for our democracy. pic.twitter.com/LnqtevuOCV
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) October 30, 2018
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