Once considered a potential frontrunner to take down Donald Trump, Beto O’Rourke has been struggling of late, to put it kindly. The former Texas congressman’s attempt at a comeback tour found him seated beside Stephen Colbert on The Late Show Wednesday night.
The host began by reminding O’Rourke that he lost to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in the 2018 election and asking, “What made you go, OK, didn't get Senate, let's go for the brass ring here and go for president of the United States?”
“What’s the logic?” the candidate joked in response. When Colbert asked if this campaign has been “easier,” he replied, “Definitely not.”
From there, Colbert pressed O’Rourke to explain why he decided to join this incredibly crowded Democratic presidential field instead of challenging Republican Senator John Cornyn in Texas. “He’s not particularly popular in Texas right now and you have a chance of beating him,” the host said. “Why not go for that?”
O’Rourke went big picture, setting up the stakes for the 2020 election and saying, “I want to be in the most consequential position to make sure that I do everything I can to deliver for this country.”
Like most of his 2020 competition in the Democratic Party, O’Rourke is in favor of starting impeachment hearings against Trump. But as he told Colbert, “Impeachment is not about getting rid of the president, it’s about finding the facts, getting to the truth, ensuring that there’s accountability and justice for what happened to this democracy in 2016.”
“If we set the precedent that some people are above the law, or beyond the reach of the law, by not impeaching this president, not getting to the facts or the truth,” he added, “I think that begins the end of this democracy.”
After a break, Colbert said he wanted to help O’Rourke prepare ahead of this month’s first big Democratic debate that will feature a total of 20 candidates over the course of two nights.
“You’ve debated before, Ted Cruz, obviously, but now you’re going to be on stage with people the audience might enjoy,” he joked. Instead of pinning O’Rourke down on some real issues, Colbert made him pick between Ryan Gosling and Ryan Reynolds and argue whether or not it’s acceptable to share streaming passwords.
He ended the bit by asking who of the other 22 Democrats running for president O’Rourke would eat first if they were trapped on a desert island.
“Oh, wow,” O’Rourke replied, trying to change the subject. “You want to talk about health care? Or immigration?” He ultimately dodged the question, saying, “I would die first.”