‘I can’t control anything I’ve done in the past. I can only control what I do going forward, and what I plan to do is give this my best…’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) Reuters revealed it sat on a devastating story about former congressman and current presidential hopeful Robert Francis O’Rourke (“Beto”) while he campaigned against Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in the 2018 midterms.
O’Rourke, who broke fundraising records and received unparalleled media adulation in his unsuccessful Senate run last year, recently announced his 2020 bid for the White House.
A day after the announcement, Reuters broke a story about O’Rourke’s involvement in a hacking group called the Cult of the Dead Cow—a story reporter Joseph Menn admitted he had held onto for more than a year.
“While I was looking into the Cult of the Dead Cow, I found out that they had a member who was sitting in Congress. I didn’t know which one. But I knew that they had a member of Congress,” Menn said.
After figuring out who it was, Menn claimed getting interviews with members of the cult was conditional upon the story getting suppressed during the campaign.
“The members of the group wouldn’t talk to me about who it was,” he said. “They wouldn’t confirm that it was this person unless I promised that I wouldn’t write about it until after the November election. That’s because the member of Congress had decided to run for Senate. Beto O’Rourke is who it was.”
Menn said he met with O’Rourke and agreed to withhold the story until after his Senate race.
“And he said, ‘OK,’” Menn said. “And he told me about his time in the Cult of the Dead Cow.”
During his time in the Cult of the Dead Cow, O’Rourke wrote fiction when he was 15-years-old about the murder of children. When Reuters finally broke the story, O’Rourke apologized.
“I’m mortified to read it now, incredibly embarrassed, but I have to take ownership of my words,” he said in a statement. “Whatever my intention was as a teenager doesn’t matter, I have to look long and hard at my actions, at the language I have used, and I have to constantly try to do better.”
The release was one of a series of blunders for which O’Rourke issued apologies in the weekend after his announcement, along with those for perceived misogynist and racially charged comments.
Together, they hinted that some of the media allure from his campaign against Cruz may be gone now that he has entered the crowded and diverse democratic primary field as one of the few white males.
O’Rourke also gave indications that he may seek to chart a path down the middle, bucking the extreme-leftist rhetoric that has characterized the party platform of late. He told a Lubbock radio station that he would like to see AR-15 rifles taken off the market but would not attempt to ban or confiscate them from legal gun owners.
Still, O’Rourke seemed to be banking on his charm—and on the mercy of the fawning, sympathetic press—in his appeal to reporters Friday to move past the Cult of the Dead Cow and focus on the future.
“It’s not anything I’m proud of today—and I mean, that’s the long and short of it,” he said. “All I can do is my best, which is what I’m trying to do. I can’t control anything I’ve done in the past. I can only control what I do going forward, and what I plan to do is give this my best.”