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Trump mocks O'Rourke's 'crazy' hand movements

The Hill logo The Hill 3/14/2019 Brett Samuels

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Video by NBC News
President Trump on Thursday mocked Beto O'Rourke's "crazy" hand movements after the former Texas congressman announced his bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

"I think he's got a lot of hand movement," Trump said when asked in the Oval Office about O'Rourke entering the race.

"I've never seen so much hand movement. I said, 'Is he crazy or is that just the way he acts?'" added Trump, who is himself known to be expressive with his hands during campaign rallies and other events.

Trump referenced a video of O'Rourke campaigning in Iowa where the candidate waved and shook his hands emphatically as he spoke.

"I've actually never seen anything quite like it," Trump said. "Study it. I'm sure you'll agree."

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: President Trump commented on Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke in the Oval Office on Thursday. © Getty President Trump commented on Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke in the Oval Office on Thursday. The president declined to say whether he viewed O'Rourke or former Vice President Joe Biden as a stronger opponent in 2020. Biden has yet to announce whether he'll run for president again, but is widely expected to do so.

"Whoever it is I'll take him or her on," Trump said.

O'Rourke officially announced his candidacy for president in a video on Thursday morning, ending months of speculation and joining a steadily growing field of presidential hopefuls.

"This is a defining moment of truth for this country and every single one of us," O'Rourke said.

The El Paso Democrat joins Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), among others, in seeking the party's 2020 presidential nomination.

O'Rourke served three terms in Congress before an unsuccessful bid to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) last year. O'Rourke is a fundraising stalwart and has earned praise from former Obama advisers, Oprah Winfrey and a couple of congressional Democrats.

White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley corrected Fox News anchors during an appearance on "America's Newsroom" on Thursday by noting that O'Rourke's given name is Robert Francis. He suggested the president would deploy that as a line of attack on the trail.

"He's called him that before on the campaign trail, and why wouldn't he, that's his name," Gidley said.

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