Democrat rising star O'Rourke announces 2020 White House bid

"I think people want us to rise above the pettiness, the smallness", O'Rourke told CNN at a later Thursday campaign stop in Burlington, Iowa.

The White House run will also prompt greater scrutiny of his policy proposals and track record in Congress.

O'Rourke soared to national prominence during his race past year against Sen.

O'Rourke had mulled a presidential run for months and took an unusual break for what appeared to be some soul-searching after his loss, taking a road trip to New Mexico, Kansas and elsewhere.

It wasn't the first time O'Rourke generated national attention for taking on Trump.

The former Texas congressman sent a text message to TV station KTSM on Wednesday afternoon confirming the news that he will seek the Democratic presidential nomination.

However, O'Rourke didn't expand on the issue in his response to Trump's critique. In an interview with MSNBC last month, he said he would support taking down an existing border wall in El Paso.

O'Rourke tends to get stellar press: For example, he's the next cover subject for Vanity Fair, with Annie Leibovitz photos to boot.

O'Rourke, who has traded on his charisma to sprint up the political ladder, enters a crowded field of Democratic hopefuls with a proven ability to raise money from donors online and a willingness to campaign relentlessly.

"I think he has got a lot of hand movement, I've never seen so much hand movement", Mr. Trump told reporters.

He continued: "But I totally understand people who will make a decision based on the fact that nearly every single one of our presidents has been a white man, and they want something different for this country. Especially in the fact that there are some really great candidates out there right now".

His decision jolts an early election season already stuffed with contenders, adding to the mix a relentless campaigner with a small-dollar fund-raising army, the performative instincts of a former punk rocker and a pro-immigrant vision to counteract President Trump's.

  • Rogelio Becker