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Presidential Candidate Beto O'Rourke Stumps At Pitt, While Drawing Comparisons Between El Paso And Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH (KDKA)-- Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke was swamped by supporters during a quick stop at the University of Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

But, he began his visit by meeting current and former UPMC employees who told him of their efforts to unionize and secure better wages and benefits.

"You have my commitment to reflect and learn what I have heard here today and to do my best to advocate as a candidate," the former Texas congressman told the workers.

The meeting on Pitt's campus turned to an open town hall under the Schenley Plaza tent.

"Hey. How's everyone doing?" O'Rourke asked the crowd.

Several hundred heard the Texan draw parallels between mass killings in his home town of El Paso and Tree of Life in Pittsburgh.

"That man, listening to our president talking about an invasion, drives 600 miles with that AK-47, walks into a Walmart on a Saturday before school would start that next Monday in El Paso, Texas, and opens fire."

O'Rourke says the president's words encourage domestic terrorism.

"When white supremacist terror is on the rise in every community in this country, and you saw it right here on October 27th of last year in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and he [the president] lifts not a finger to defend us, you understand what we are up against in this country," said O'Rourke.

O'Rourke's solution is straightforward if controversial.

"Beyond universal background checks and red flag laws and ending the sale of weapons of war, we will mandatorily buy back every AK-47 and AR-15 that is out there."

O'Rourke says military weapons for mass shootings were never contemplated when the founders wrote the Second Amendment, and no sportsman needs them.

His Pittsburgh visit came just as President Trump's conversation with the Ukrainian president was disclosed.

O'Rourke says the partial transcript removes all doubt of what the President did.

"We now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the president used his position of public trust and power to try to get a foreign government to dig up dirt on a potential political rival."

In response to questions from KDKA political editor Jon Delano, O'Rourke said this conduct when combined with others deserves impeachment.

"When you add that to his invitation to Vladimir Putin to be involved in our 2016 election, his obstruction of justice, his lying to investigators, his efforts to cause others to lie to investigators, it is beyond a shadow of a doubt now that this president should be impeached," said the former Texas congressman.

During his rally, he focused on issues like immigration, racism, health care, mass shootings, and climate change.

"These ten years, which all the scientists say that we have left, must be used to maximum advantage to free ourselves forever from a dependence on fossil fuels, to embrace wind, and solar, and the high wage, high skilled, and high-value jobs that come with them."

But while ending fossil fuel use will cost thousands of jobs in western Pennsylvania, O'Rourke says he won't abandon natural gas and coal workers.

"I'm going to make sure that, one, we protect their pensions and their health care, the benefits that they've earned by providing for all of us, for our energy needs and our energy security and the independence of the United States and that we invest in a transition through the skills and the training that they will need to be able to avail themselves of the jobs we're creating to meet the greatest challenge we've ever faced."

So why did the presidential candidate come to Pennsylvania when our primary is so late on April 28th.

He said he just doesn't care who votes when, and that the people of this region and this state are just as important as those in any other state.

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