Michael Moore praises O'Rourke on gun reform

Liberal filmmaker Michael Moore praised former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) for not wavering on his calls for a mandatory gun buyback program for assault-style weapons.

O’Rourke faced backlash from both sides of the aisle for his strong rhetoric during last month’s Democratic primary debate for saying, “hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, AK-47.” 

But Moore defended the presidential hopeful for having the courage to stand up for his convictions, noting that the Democratic Party should do the same. 

“We need to have some courage,” Moore, who has endorsed Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersHow can top Democrats run the economy with no business skill? Biden rallies with John Kerry in early primary states Buttigieg campaign says 2000 people attended Iowa rally MORE (I-Vt.) for the 2020 nomination, said during an interview that aired Saturday. “No Republican had ever said it, but no Democrat had ever said it. Beto O’Rourke was the first to say we’re coming for your AR-15s.”

Moore maintained that Democrats shouldn’t have gone after O’Rourke for the remarks, arguing that his proposed gun buyback program would be supported by Democratic voters.

“Democrats went there to trash Beto O’Rourke for saying that, but if you watch the debate, it is the only moment where the audience flew out of their chairs and erupted in a standing ovation because that’s what the people want,” he told Hill.TV. 

Earlier this month O’Rourke hit back at fellow 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegBiden: Buttigieg 'doesn't have significant black support even in his own city' Warren says she made almost M from legal work over past three decades Biden rallies with John Kerry in early primary states MORE after the South Bend, Ind., mayor accused O'Rourke of picking a fight with him over the merits of a gun buyback program in order to stay relevant.

“Pete can belittle the grassroots; he can call buybacks a 'shiny object.' He can say whatever he wants, but guns kill 40,000 people each year,” O’Rourke tweeted in response to Buttigieg's comments. “Those people deserve action. I’ll be fighting for them.”

O’Rourke’s average support on polling aggregate site RealClearPolitics is 2.3 percent behind entrepreneur Andrew YangAndrew YangEmanuel jokes: 'I'm a new, mellow Rahm' Yang expands campaign with senior hires for digital operations Biden: All-white debate not representative of party, but 'you can't dictate' nominee MORE at 2.5 percent and Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisSunday shows — Nadler: A jury would convict Trump in 'three minutes flat' Booker on Harris dropping out: 'Iowa voters should have the right to choose' Booker campaign rakes in million after Harris exits 2020 race MORE (D-Calif.) at 5.3 percent.

The former Texas congressman has yet to qualify for next month’s Democratic debate in Atlanta. To make the stage, candidates have to garner support from at least 165,000 unique donors and register at least 3 percent in four qualifying polls or 5 percent in two early-state polls by Nov. 13.

—Tess Bonn