Beto O'Rourke Quickly Goes Viral after Switching to Spanish during the Presidential Debates

Junie Sihlangu
Jun 27, 2019
02:07 P.M.
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On Wednesday night, a Democratic presidential debate was held amongst 10 candidates. The beginning of the debate quickly went viral when one of the candidates answered a question in Spanish.

When Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke was asked about marginal tax rates he started answering in English and then turned to Spanish. While speaking Spanish he said: “We need to include every person in this economy’s success.”

O’Rourke added

“But if we want to do that, we need to include every person in our democracy. Every voter needs representation and we need to listen to every voice.”


It’s believed that the former Texas representative was trying to grab the attention of viewers who watched the debate on Telemundo, a Spanish channel. Two of his opponents appeared taken aback by the Spanish address.

Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) were photographed looking on as O’Rourke suddenly changed to Spanish. In his own address, Booker also spoke the language.


Warren and Booker’s facial expressions and reactions quickly became a viral conversation of social media. A number of people also turned the image of the three next to each other into several memes.

A Twitter user with the handle @MrToddsWildRide joked: “Cory Booker side-eyeing Beto’s Spanish dissertation is meme-worthy. #DemocraticDebate.” Full Frontal’s Samantha Bee captioned the image: “When your friend comes back from study abroad #DemDebate.”


Caroline Moss teased:  “Question: can all of you say basically the same thing but in 20 sort of different ways and make it stretch for two hours? Everyone: Yes Beto: Si, se puede.” While Trevor Noah from The Daily Show captioned it: “When Dad says ‘Hola, como estas?’ to the waiter at the Mexican restaurant #DemDebate.”

O’Rourke’s viral moment happened on the first night of the two-night Democratic Presidential candidate debates which were being held at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida. Thursday will see10 more candidates coming head-to-head.


Wednesday’s candidates were: Booker, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, Rep. John Delaney Delaney, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; O'Rourke, Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio; and Warren.

The next candidates will be former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.; South Bend, Indiana; Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.; Sanders, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif.; authoress Marianne Williamson, and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

The debates are moderated by Today news anchor Savannah Guthrie, Nightly News anchor Lester Holt, Meet the Press host Chuck Todd, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, and Telemundo anchor Jose Diaz-Balart.

On both days they air from 9 p.m. ET to 11 p.m. ET on NBC, MSNBC, and Telemundo. They can also be streamed live on the CNBC website.