Some people felt that Cory Booker’s look won the first Democratic debate. Minimally, it won the Internet. Beto O’Rourke spoke Spanish during the Wednesday debate, and, well, here’s how Booker responded:
The still photos were pretty funny too.
Especially blown up. It’s not quite Crying Jordan, but still.
The jokes were also entertaining. One man, for some unknown reason, directed a tweet to Bill Maher, writing, “Mr. Maher. I’m not tech saavy (sic) so if your team could make a meme out of Cory Booker’s reaction to Beto translating for himself that would be enough to justify my subscription to HBO. Thanks.”
Some people feel that Booker made a lot of “meme faces” during the debate.
Of course, Booker also spoke (somewhat more halting) Spanish later on in the debate (as did Julian Castro), so maybe the New Jersey Senator was just annoyed that Beto beat him to it. Or something like that. Whatever Booker was thinking, the jokes and memes flew as Twitter went wild for the moment. Actually, Booker told Anderson Cooper what he was thinking (kind of).
Here’s what you need to know:
Booker Says O’Rourke ‘Laid a Gauntlet Down’
CNN asked Booker about that viral moment and he responded, “I can’t really remember… I just knew he had laid a gauntlet down.”
Anderson Cooper accused him of giving O’Rourke “amazing side eye.”
“I was talking a little bit with Castro. Both of us knew as people who can speak Spanish that we were going to bring it as well…I realized there are a lot of bilingual people, even trilingual, in this race, and I’m happy to have those skills,” Booker chuckled.
Beto O’Rourke Was Raised in El Paso, Texas But He’s Irish
As for Beto O’Rourke, his Spanish-speaking derives from his time growing up in El Paso, Texas, but he’s not Latino. He’s Irish, despite his Spanish-sounding nickname.
His legal name is actually Robert Francis O’Rourke.
O’Rourke’s father is a judge in El Paso named Patrick Francis “Pat” O’Rourke, who is descended from Irish immigrants who came to the United States three generations ago. The Miami Herald reported that Beto is not Latino; rather he’s a fourth-generation Irish-American with a Spanish nickname given to him in childhood by his father. Beto is the Spanish shorthand for Robert, according to the Miami Herald.
O’Rourke is Irish in heritage on both sides.
According to Irish Central, Beto O’Rourke’s great-great-grandfather Bernard O’Rourke “was born in Glencar, North Leitrim on November 30, 1830, and he died in a buggy accident on August 28, 1896, in Talmadge, Otoe County Nebraska.”
The site reports that O’Rourke’s mother is also of Irish heritage. His mother’s family comes from Ireland, too, according to Irish Central, which has elaborately traced O’Rourke’s family tree, a summary of which you can read here.
Beto O’Rourke is from the border town of El Paso, Texas. “I realized I wasn’t a New Yorker. I’m a Texan, an El Pasoan,” O’Rourke once told The Dallas Morning News. O’Rourke is fluent in Spanish, according to the newspaper.
His father, Pat O’Rourke, gave his son the nickname. He felt that nicknames were common in Mexico and border towns and “if he ever ran for office in El Paso, the odds of being elected in this mostly Mexican-American city were far greater with a name like Beto than Robert Francis O’Rourke,” The Dallas Morning News reported. In addition, Beto’s grandfather was also named Robert.
“My parents have called me Beto from day one, and it’s just — it’s kind of a nickname for Robert in El Paso. It just stuck,” O’Rourke told CNN.