As the gubernatorial election moves closer, Gov. Greg Abbott continues to hammer Robert “Beto” O’Rourke, highlighting his far-left positions. In an ad released by Abbott’s campaign, O’Rourke is shown supporting Black Lives Matter and praising the movement for its attempts to defund and dismantle police departments.

During the 2020 Black Lives Matter riots, O’Rourke held a livestream where he praised the rioters, saying he loved how the movement had brought policing to the forefront with calls to dismantle departments.

“I really love that Black Lives Matter has—and other protesters have—put this front and center, to defund these line items that have over-militarized our police. And then also, in some necessary cases, completely dismantling those police forces and rebuilding them.”

In the video, O’Rourke can also be heard saying that he believed the city of Minneapolis made the right decision in defunding its police department.

“I think the city council in Minneapolis made the right decision. You don’t have one bad apple, you don’t have four bad apples; you have a systemwide problem in the police department,” O’Rourke said.

Gov. Abbott, on the other hand, signed legislation last year that would punish Texas cities and jurisdictions that cut funding for law enforcement.

“Texas remains a law-and-order state and we continue to make it abundantly clear that we support our law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line every day to keep communities safe,” said Abbott. “My office’s adoption of these new rules will prevent cities from making reckless and downright dangerous decisions to defund the police, ensuring a safer future for Texans all across the Lone Star State.”

O’Rourke responded to the accusation by claiming he has never supported defunding the police and would fully fund law enforcement as governor.

“When he tries to scare you about ‘defund the police,’ know this. I fully support funding law enforcement, making sure they have the training necessary and also the accountability that breeds the kind of trust that we need to protect everyone in every single community,” O’Rourke said during a campaign event in The Woodlands.

According to a UTT/DMN poll conducted last month, defunding the police is opposed by a resounding 59 percent of voters in Texas, with 77 percent being Republicans and 36 percent identifying as Democrats.

Early voting begins on October 24. The election will take place November 8.

Emily Wilkerson

Emily is a summer fellow for Texas Scorecard. She is a senior at the University of Oklahoma, studying journalism with a minor in political science. She enjoys investigative journalism and making sure that every side of a story is being told.

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